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

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Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, Outliers, and Tipping Point, and host of the podcast Revisionist History, turns to one of the most written about periods of history––World War II––in his new book, The Bomber Mafia.

The group referenced in the title revolutionized the way airplanes were used in wartime by considering how strategic bomb strikes could improve the allied position and save civilian lives. In theory, this idea would have changed the war effort, but the technology available and the desire to end the war quickly led to carpet bombing, a strategy that was antithetical to the views of the “Bomber Mafia” but ultimately led to the end of the war.

While the story is interesting, there are a number of footnotes and so much cited text from other sources that, at times, it feels more like you are reading a Ph.D. thesis than a fully developed book. Perhaps that is because the book began as four episodes from season five of Gladwell’s podcast. The structure of a podcast, which pulls from multiple sources to tell one story, may have added more dimension to this story.

That being said, there is a great deal of historical information here for the military and World War II buff, and Gladwell’s tangents––particularly on the creation of models of villages to determine the best bombing practices––are not to be missed.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date 27-Apr-2021
ISBN 9780316296618 Buy this Book
Issue December 2021
Category History