Book Review: MacArthur’s Air Force: American Airpower Over the Pacific and the Far East, 1941-1951


by Bill Yenne

Oxford: Osprey, 2019. Pp. 320+. Illus., maps, biblio., index. $30.00. ISBN:1472833236

American Air Power under MacArthur

Aviation historian Yenne gives us a good look at American air power in the Pacific and East Asia from the early 1930s through the Korean War, a period more or less dominated by the presence of Douglas MacArthur.

Although Yenne rather slights naval aviation (e.g., the critically important American and British carrier strikes in the opening days of the Korean War merit a mere paragraph), he does tell the overall story rather well, touching on planning, resources, aircraft, and personalities.

On several subjects Yenne is very good. His look at the problems encountered in the formation of the Philippine Commonwealth’s armed forces is excellent, as is treatment of the problems George C. Kenney encountered in developing an effective low level attack force in a heavy bomber-minded Air Force. Yenne is also is willing to criticize MacArthur when necessary. He also gives the read an excellent, sobering analysis of the planning for Operation Downfall, the proposed invasion of Japan.

Though the lack of documentation makes it less useful for the serious scholar of the subject, MacArthur’s Air Force is a good book for anyone interested in air power or the Pacific War.


Note: MacArthur’s Air Force is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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