Translated by Nicholas Voge from the original Japanese, this memoir tells the story of one Japanese naval pilot from the time he earns his wings to his combat experience in China, Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Guadalcanal.
This book is pretty dry reading. There’s very little in the way of human interest or personal relationships on display here. That’s okay since, if you read between the lines, you can pretty much imagine the real world of terror and sweat Bridgeman, Crossfield, and the others had to deal with on a regular basis in order to “bring home the data” on the primitive data recorders of the day.
Initially developed as a high-speed escort fighter for long-range SAC bombers, the 1,000 mph+ Voodoo was eventually adapted as a high altitude interceptor, as nuclear weapons delivery platform, and as a photographic reconnaissance platform.
I have to believe that the resulting “blended” view of where we came from will be a natural outgrowth of the increasing diversity of U.S. society. For some that will only happen when the current generation of white traditionalists dies off and is replaced. I hope we don’t have to wait that long. Books like this certainly help!
As I’ve always enjoyed detailed stories about challenging engineering and construction projects (atomic bomb, hydroge bomb, skyscrapers, the Brooklyn Bridge, etc.) this book fit my interests like a glove. I just wish we could send McCullough back in time to tell us how the Pyramids were really built!
The lessons of history (telephone, telegraph, FM radio, networks, cable TV, etc.) and how companies with the complicity of government try to shut off competition are incredibly important given current battles to save net neutrality.
This book is the perfect antidote for anyone who seriously believes that politics back then was any different from today. Lincoln faced incredible dissension and disagreement within his own party and his own cabinet. This makes Gates’ recent revelations about his relationship with the Obama Administration pale by comparison.
I’m especially fond of history books that not only explain events but help the reader understand the people involved and how they and events were impacted by history, culture, personal relationships, and where appropriate, by technology
This book describes what it was like to bomb Japanese cities via B-29 raids conducted by the U.S. during 1944 and 1945. Most of the action is from the American perspective and takes place on the air-base islands off Japan from which most raids were launched (chiefly Tinian and Saipan), in the air while over water, or over Japan itself
I read a lot of history books where you get caught up in the sweep of big ideas, big movements, and larger-than-life historical figures. In THUNDER BELOW we have a captain, his crew, and the ship, doing their job while trying to stay alive. It’s a keeper.
Having always been a fan of aerospace history this book is one of the first I’ve read that actually attempts to answer in some depth the question, “What was it like to be part of the Apollo program?” We hear from the different participants from astronaut on down. It’s highly educational and even surprising in parts.
You have to be interested in engineering and technology to appreciate this book and its detail. So many aircraft books emphasize operational or military applications while skimping on the details that allow an appreciation of the huge number of challenges involved in aircraft development. This one really delivers the goods.