The Age of Airpower

Regular Price $19.99

Regular Price $25.99 CAD

Regular Price $19.99

Regular Price $25.99 CAD

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On Sale

May 8, 2012

Page Count

528 Pages




Airpower, more than any other factor, has shaped war in the twentieth century. In this fascinating narrative history, Martin van Creveld vividly portrays the rise of the plane as a tool of war and the evolution of both technology and strategy. He documents seminal battles and turning points, and relates stories of individual daring and collective mastery of the skies.

However, the end of airpower’s glorious age is drawing near. The conventional wisdom to the contrary, modern precision guided munitions have not made fighter bombers more effective against many kinds of targets than their predecessors in World War II. U.S. ground troops calling for air support in Iraq in 2003 did not receive it any faster than Allied forces did in France in 1944. And from its origins on, airpower has never been very effective against terrorists, guerrillas, and insurgents. As the warfare waged by these kinds of people grow in importance, and as ballistic missiles, satellites, cruise missiles and drones increasingly take the place of quarter-billion-dollar manned combat aircraft and their multi-million-dollar pilots, airpower is losing utility almost day by day.

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“Martin van Creveld's new book is sure to enlighten….[It] comprehensively surveys the rise and evolution of aerial warfare from the dawn of the 20th century to our own day. No conflict or air-power variant seems to have escaped van Creveld's formidable attention. He covers naval aviation, helicopters, remotely piloted vehicles ("drones") and space. This volume, like the others produced by van Creveld, deserves a place on the bookshelf of any serious student of military affairs.”
New York Times, April 30, 2011

"Martin van Creveld's work is always worth reading. 'The Age of Airpower' is equal parts historical survey, idiosyncratic editorializing, and bold prediction. Airpower advocates and critics alike need to engage with this book."

CHOICE, August 2011

Kirkus, January 15, 2011

“A polished, readable narrative.”

New York Times Book Review, April 24, 2011

“As Martin van Creveld shows in this brisk, original and authoritative history, since it's zenith during World War II, when two United States B-29s ended the global struggle by dropping their payloads on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the value of air power has largely fizzled…I hope that this spring, van Creveld's timely book will remind NATO leaders supervising the bombing campaign in the Libyan civil war of how often in history we have watched air power lead unexpectedly to ground fighting on quicksand.”

Library Journal

“A brilliantly formulated, exhaustively researched, and engagingly written critique of America's once vaunted military service, this is sure to arouse much controversy among interested parties.”
Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011

“A new book from Van Creveld is always something to be savored.  There have been many previous histories of airpower, but none so comprehensive and sensitive to context as this one.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 17, 2011
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