Cover image for The influence of air power upon history
The influence of air power upon history
Boyne, Walter J., 1929-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Gretna, La. : Pelican, [2003]

Physical Description:
447 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Giniger Book"
Fledgling wings -- Air power in World War I -- Fighters and bombers -- Growth of air power theory -- Air power and its influence between the wars -- The search for air power, World War II, 1939-41 -- The growth of air power 1941-43 -- True air superiority, then absolute air supremacy, 1944-45 -- The cold war, 1945-62 -- The cold war 1963-73 -- Post World War II Middle Eastern conflicts, terror, and the modern air war.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
UG630 .B622 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A thorough examination of the development of air-power philosophy, approached by examining the theory and practice of air power and the innovators who have developed it. Walter J. Boyne is a recognized authority on aviation.

Author Notes

Walter J. Boyne, a retired Air Force colonel and a command pilot, is a recognized authority on air power. He has written thirty-six nonfiction works and five novels on the subject and has appeared on the New York Times bestseller lists for both fiction and nonfiction. He was one of the first directors of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and is the founder of Air & Space magazine, which has since become the best-selling aviation magazine in the United States. He went on to co-found the cable television channel Wingspan -- The Air and Space Channel and appears as a commentator on aviation and military events on network news and cable channels such as the History Channel, A&E, PBS, the Discovery Channel, and Speedvision. Boyne lives in Virginia with his wife, Jeanne

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Prolific aviation writer Boyne offers a comprehensive, balanced overview of war in the air. Including balloons and dirigibles in his purview allows him to extend coverage back to the eighteenth century for the former and to consider the latter during World War I. The book's primary focus, however, is on heavier-than-air craft, and, perhaps because Boyne flew for the Strategic Air Command, there is a certain bias favoring bombers. In World War I, bombing was of negligible effect, but its psychological impact was so great that the almost equally negligible threat of the Luftwaffe in the 1930s discouraged resistance to Hitler. When the Luftwaffe undertook the Battle of Britain, it faced Britain's Fighter Command and failed--narrowly. Thereafter, Allied strategic bombing engaged the Luftwaffe over Europe and won outright over Japan. Since then, much has depended on how air power has been used. Over Vietnam it was asked to do what it could not, while over Iraq it achieved far more. Boyne's clearly written book brings air power into the military-history mainstream. --Roland Green Copyright 2003 Booklist

Choice Review

No one is better qualified to assess air power's influence during its first century than Boyne, a former director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. His sweeping narrative covers aviation technology, organization, doctrine, and application since the earliest flights. He acknowledges Alfred Thayer Mahan's classic Influence of Sea Power upon History (1890) as his departure point. However, where Mahan analyzed Britain's rise to imperial power, Boyne concludes that more nations have access to air power than to sea power. Aviation's global nature shapes nearly every social activity, making it essential for peace and war. The detailed accounts of aviation between 1903 and 1945 make this book valuable, because this period witnessed the advent and the maturation of flight. Boyne describes the culminating campaigns against Germany and Japan as watershed events that forever changed warfare. Unfortunately, he does not provide similar depth in his treatment of the Cold War and post-Cold War eras. The chapter on Vietnam only briefly mentions the vital role played by helicopter forces, and air power in the 20th century's small wars receives similar short shrift. Nevertheless, there is no better single source for understanding air power's importance to national power and policy. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Most academic levels/collections. A. C. Cain United States Air University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Introductionp. 11
Chapter 1 Fledgling Wingsp. 21
Chapter 2 Air Power in World War Ip. 47
Chapter 3 Fighters and Bombersp. 75
Chapter 4 Growth of Air-Power Theoryp. 123
Chapter 5 Air Power and Its Influence Between the Warsp. 169
Chapter 6 The Search for Air Power, World War II, 1939-41p. 193
Chapter 7 The Growth of Air Power, 1941-43p. 219
Chapter 8 True Air Superiority, Then Absolute Air Supremacy, 1944-45p. 251
Chapter 9 The Cold War, 1945-62p. 285
Chapter 10 The Cold War, 1963-73p. 315
Chapter 11 Post-World War II Middle-East Conflicts, Terror, and the Modern Air Warp. 343
Conclusionp. 367
Appendix The Earliest Expressions of Air Powerp. 369
Notesp. 401
Bibliographyp. 415
Indexp. 433