The Age of Airpower by Martin van Creveld

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Airpower, more than any other factor, has shaped war in the twentieth century. In this fascinating narrative history, Martin van Creveld vividly portrays the rise of the plane as a tool of war and the evolution of both technology and strategy. He documents seminal battles and turning points, and relates stories of individual daring and collective mastery of the skies.

However, the end of airpower's glorious age is drawing near. The conventional wisdom to the contrary, modern precision guided munitions have not made fighter bombers more effective against many kinds of targets than their predecessors in World War II. U.S. ground troops calling for air support in Iraq in 2003 did not receive it any faster than Allied forces did in France in 1944. And from its origins on, airpower has never been very effective against terrorists, guerrillas, and insurgents. As the warfare waged by these kinds of people grow in importance, and as ballistic missiles, satellites, cruise missiles and drones increasingly take the place of quarter-billion-dollar manned combat aircraft and their multi-million-dollar pilots, airpower is losing utility almost day by day.


About Martin van Creveld

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Martin van Creveld was born in the Netherlands in 1946 and has lived in Israel from 1950. Having studied in Jerusalem and London, since 1971 he has been on the faculty of the History Department, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A specialist in military history and strategy, he is the author of 17 books, and has appeared regularly on CBS, CNN and the BBC.
Published April 12, 2011 by PublicAffairs. 528 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Van Creveld delves into what he calls the important “civilized” versus “uncivilized” wars between 1919 and 1939—“civilized” being wars waged between equal powers (e.g., the Spanish Civil War, which allowed the Germans and Soviets to test their air-fighter strength) and “uncivilized” wars waged on...

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The New York Times

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(The United States ultimately employed more tonnage on the Vietnamese than all the bombs dropped in World War II.) Van Creveld might have added the telling fact that two of the most prominent early critics of the Vietnam War, Under Secretary of State George Ball and the Harvard economist John Ken...

Apr 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Age of Airpower

Huntington News

He is the author of 22 books translated into 20 laguages on military history and strategy, of which Command in War (1985), Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton (1977, 2nd edition 2004), The Transformation of War (1991), The Sword and the Olive (1998) and The Rise ...

Apr 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Age of Airpower

Marine Corps Gazette

But he points out that it is the anticipation of this type of conflict that drives airpower strategy and procurement in developed nations, resulting in dwindling airpower assets that are too expensive to maintain, that are too expensive to risk or lose in combat, and that are wholly ineffective a...

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