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While the book purports to cover all American combat fliers of WWII, but about 80% is anecdotal coverage of the European heavy bomber campaign. HAP Arnold demanded the highest scorers on the military entrance exams for manning his airplanes. The USAAF was a major believer in standardized and psychological testing and screening. This process is covered in some detail in the book along with the selection process for the various billets in a bomber, and/or a fighter pilot.
If one has seen the movie "Twelve O'Clock High", it's a nutshell of the book's 17 hours. Arnold's missive of, "Why you are about to die...", to his airmen was a nice touch. There is quite a bit of questioning by the airmen of whether or not the killing of the some 353,000 German civilians and the 300,000 - 900,000 Japanese civilians was really moral or legal. Surprisingly, most really didn't and don't care, they left that up to the REMF's. But they were asking the questions.
If this was the basis for the founding of the USAF, then we have a problem because what happened during WWII can never be replicated. The heavy bomber aircrews had about a 20% chance of completing a tour of duty. Censors kept the actual numbers secret, but these were bright guys. The REMF's kept increasing the lengths of their tours for a reason.
Mr. Davis does yeoman service to the material.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
this book covers in detail topics not covered much in most stories about the air war that I've always been curious about such as answering nature's call 5 miles up!