The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from The Bomber Mafia. The title is a little misleading if you’re not an air warfare aficionado. However, I generally enjoy everything Malcolm Gladwell writes, so I thought it was worth trying out.

The Bomber Mafia proved a quick, informative, engaging read that not only entertained me, but also taught me quite a bit about precision bombing, napalm, aerial combat strategy, the end of WWII, and the history of bombers. I won’t spoil much, but The Bomber Mafia claims to delve into those men who wanted to make precision bombing the norm–to eradicate random bombing–in order to quicken wars and to spare innocent lives. Ironically enough, they were known as The Bomber Mafia.

Of course, the title is a bit misleading. The majority of the book focuses on the US deciding to use firebombs in Japan rather than precision bombing, and it dives deeply into those men who made that pivotal decision.

As a result, The Bomber Mafia feels a little erratic at times, perhaps even disjoined. Nonetheless, the book does not suffer as a result. Gladwell is such a fine, fluid writer and the substance of the book is so fascinating that all of the detours and side trips end up working well enough together to create a vastly captivating read.

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