In Aviation and Air Power in the Twentieth Century Robin Higham, regarded by many as the dean of aviation historians, presents a critical history of British, American, Soviet, German, Italian, French, Japanese, and Israeli aviation. He moves easily from theory to concrete example and back again, in the process discussing the social, economic, and political components of air power, the major wars and police actions in which aircraft have been employed, the composition of air forces, and the creation of aviation industries from the Wright brothers and the early pusher aircraft of World War I through Boeing’s competition with Airbus and the development of the Eurofighter.
In this precise, interpretive, and informative volume, Higham looks at everything from the roots of strategic bombing and tactical air power, to the lessons learned and unlearned during the invasion of Ethiopia, the war in China, and the Spanish Civil War, as well as the problems posed by jet aircraft in Korea and the use of Patriot missiles in the Persian Gulf. He covers anti-guerrilla operations, doctrine, industrial activities and equipment, as well as the development of commercial airlines.
Turning his attention to civil aviation in the closing pages, Higham discusses the “wars” that saw Braniff fold as Continental filed for bankruptcy and Brazil’s Embraer emerged as a third-world success story. He considers the rise and fall of Soviet civil aviation. He discusses the development of new aircraft and the expansion of airports such as O’Hare, which handles more than 200,000 passengers daily.
Higham synthesizes a hundred years of aviation and air power into sets of principles and lessons for future generations of airmen and politicians. Like his earlier works, this book will capture the interest of scholars, students, enthusiasts, and general readers looking for a serious overview by one of the country’s leading aviation historians.
What Readers Are Saying:
“Controversial, but always accurate, Robin Higham again provides the basic text for any understanding of a century of air warfare. Students of all levels–begin or continue your exploration here. Encyclopedic in scope and global in range, this revised, updated, and expanded edition incorporates the most recent scholarship into a complete and critical survey of aviation and air power in the 20th Century and beyond.”--Stephen l. McFarland, Auburn University
“Controversial, but always accurate, Robin Higham again provides the basic text for any understanding of a century of air warfare. Students of all levels–begin or continue your exploration here. Encyclopedic in scope and global in range, this revised, updated, and expanded edition incorporates the most recent scholarship into a complete and critical survey of aviation and air power in the 20th Century and beyond.” --Stephen l. McFarland, Auburn University
“The dean of air power historians scores again with a revised version of a 1792 original that contains so much fresh material it is best understood as an independent work. Higham wears his learning lightly in this stimulating and well written analysis of air power’s increasingly connected military and civil roles in the twentieth century. Both specialists and general readers will profit from Higham’s discussion of air power in the world wars. Even more useful, however, is the book’s a presentation of the aerial dimension of history warfare since 1945. In a masterpiece of comparative analysis, Higham not only covers every aspect of aircraft in action across a comprehensive spectrum of conflicts. He presents as well the growing shift of emphasis from military to civil and commercial education–a development at least as important as the continued use of aircraft in warmaking.” --Dennis Showalter
“This book is the reflection work of someone with tremendous experience and scholarly knowledge; the of work that cannot be done without years of dedicated study. The description and evaluation of technological changes and their effect on air power is magisterial. The depth, clarity, and intellectual richness of this opus is impressive. The capabilities of description of the problems and their evolution and of the solutions to them as a continuum along history are very impressive.” --Roger D. Launius
“This great sprawling book covers the history of aviation and airpower from 1903 to 2003 embracing not only the major and minor wars but also airlines, airports, and the aviation industry in its broadest sense. Some readers may be put off by the author’s stream of consciousness prose style, but those who persist will find his many interpretations uniquely provocative and stimulating. Virtually every page offers fresh ideas and original suggestions. This multi-national and multi-service study reflects and presents the mature reflections of a life-long scholar who is himself a flyer, one who has immersed himself in the virtually limitless literature of aviation in the 20th Century. Much of the appeal of his work, apart from its comprehensiveness, stems from the author’s willingness to challenge conventional wisdom.” --I. B. Holley, Jr., Emeritus Professor of History, Duke University
“Since he is one of the acknowledged masters in the field of airpower history, and since his latest book, 100 Years of Air Power and Aviation is getting rave reviews, and since that same book encapsulates pretty much everything that anybody knows about the history of flight between the covers of a single volume, you’d assume that Robin Higham is kickin’ back about now.” --The Manhattan Mercury
“Deftly weaves together theory and historical examples. . . clearly recommended as a core addition to any academic or community library Aviation History collection.” --Wisconsin Bookwatch
“This profusely illustrated study captures the imagination of the reader and should prove to be an authoritative work for anyone wishing to understand the first century of air power and aviation.” --Military Heritage
“This review was amazed at the amount of detail presented by Higham in all facets of aviation, whether military, civilian, or airline related.” --The Manhattan Mercury
“Highams book evidences a lifetime of expertise researching airpower.” --Technology and Culture