The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War

The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War

by Malcolm Gladwell


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How a small team of utopian Air Force strategists attempted to win World War II through precision bombing—when in reality, the firebombing of entire cities became America’s strategy. A tale of idealists, grim pragmatists, technologists, and the wages of war.
For most military thinkers in the years leading up to World War II, the airplane was just a supplementary weapon, to be used in support of armies on the ground. But a small band of idealistic strategists dreamed of revolutionizing war, making it far less lethal by sending jets into enemy territory, and bombing crucial choke points.

Their theories didn’t work out against Germany, where they faced bad weather, enemy jet fighters, and human error—but the pilots were true believers, and they moved on to the Pacific War. Again, they failed—due to jet-stream winds, challenging weather patterns, and yet more human error. In the end, only the brutal firebombing of over sixty Japanese cities succeeded in winning a war from the air.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316296618
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 04/27/2021
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 8,461
Product dimensions: 5.37(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, including Talking to Strangers, David and Goliath, Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point. The Bomber Mafia began as episodes of his podcast, Revisionist History, and the production team behind that show also produced the audiobook edition. Gladwell is cofounder and president of Pushkin Industries, an audiobook and podcast production company. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York.


New York, NY

Date of Birth:

September 3, 1963

Place of Birth:

England, U.K.


University of Toronto, History degree, 1984

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