Few industrial phenomena have been as dramatic as the United States’ mid-20th-century shift from peacetime to wartime production. The American Aircraft Factory in World War II documents the production of legendary warbirds by companies like Boeing, North American, Curtiss, Consolidated, Douglas, Grumman, and Lockheed. It was a production unmatched by any other country anda crucial part of why the allies won the war.
Author Bill Yenne considers the prewar governmental acts that got the plants rolling, as well as the gender shift that occurred as women entered the work force like never before. He also describes the construction of megafactories like Willow Run, factory design considerations, and the postwar conversion back to peacetime production. Illustrated with 175 period photographs—including 50 rare color photos never before seen in print.
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About the Author
Bill Yenne is the author of more than two dozen books, including Attack of the Drones: A History of Unmanned Aerial Combat, Secret Weapons of the Cold War, Secret Weapons of World War II, The History of the U.S. Air Force, and SAC: A Primer of Strategic Air Power. Yenne was a contributor and aviation consultant to the Simon & Schuster D-Day Encyclopedia and worked with legendary U.S. Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay on Superfortress: The B-29 and American Airpower in World War II. He is also a regular contributor to International Air Power Review. Yenne lives in San Francisco.
Table of Contents
ContentsAcknowledgmentsIntroductionChapter One: America’s First PlanemakersChapter Two: Backing into World War IIChapter Three: Aircraft Factories Go to WarChapter Four: The Peak of ProductionChapter Five: Toward Victory and Beyond
What People are Saying About This
FlyPast, December 2006“Lavishly illustrated, landscape-format tribute to the huge US war machine that churned out over 304,000 aircraft between 1939 and 1945. The format and large size of this book was dictated by sheer scale and drama of the illustrations within. Incredible views of production lines are balanced with images of countless ‘Rosie the Riveters’ at work, plus engineers, test pilots and designers. Pictures are mostly black and white, but with good amounts of color—all spectacularly reproduced. The author knits a careful narrative around the imagery.”WWII History, March 2007“No story is more emblematic of the all-out industrial effort that that of the American aircraft industry. And no book captures that effort better than this handsome, oversized work by Bill Yenne. Using 125 exquisitely detailed black-and-white photos and 50 color shots, Yenne captures the hustle, bustle, and sheer muscle that was required to turn steel and aluminum into the legendary aircraft of the day—the fighters, transports, and bombers—that helped win the war. The stunning collection of photographs takes the reader onto the famous assembly lines at Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas, GM, Vultee, Martin, Lockheed, and many others, and shows the tremendous amount of work and dedication that went into the manufacture of each aircraft. This beautiful book is truly a magnificent tribute to the men and women who toiled round the clock in the war plants at home so that our boys overseas had the tools of war they needed. All Aviation buffs will want this one.”
Aviation History, March 2007“Bill Yenne keeps his reputation for consistent quality in his nostalgic book The American Aircraft Factory in World War II…Yenne supports his text with an amazing collection of photographs, a few familiar to aviation buffs, but many others seen here for the first time. This compilation clearly represents an extensive research effort. All in all, The American Aircraft Factory in World War II tells the story of how the United States and its diverse population responded to a crisis in a positive manner, one that benefited the world in their day—and which may also serve to inspire new generations.”Midwest Book Review, December 2006"An eye-catching, outstanding production."
In Flight USA, January 2007
“Yenne, one of the best present-day chroniclers of aviation history, ably merges text and images to give a sense of the efficiency and even beauty of American ‘Yankee’ ingenuity at its best. The text is crisp and efficient, but the images are what give the book its edge. From the early images of aviation workers in full suits and ties to the surprising color shots of factory workers, the book underlines the glamour and, dare I say, coolness of a bygone era.”
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