Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Perhaps it requires another Jackson, obtaining the respect of
foreign powers, at the same time paying off our national debt
and encouraging an expansion of industry to the further im-
provement of the standards and joys of living, to stimulate an
optimistic literature a century after the era of Bancroft, Simms,
Kennedy, Irving, and Cooper.
ROBERT C. COTNER
The University of Texas
The Army Air Forces in World War II: The Pacific-Guadalcanal
to Saipan. Volume IV (August, 1942, to July, 1944). Edited
by W. F. Craven and J. L. Cate. Chicago (The University
of Chicago Press), 1950. Pp. xxxii+825. $6.oo.
In 1950 the military historian's task is not a simple one. Every
aspect of warfare has been vastly complicated since 1942, the
year in which this volume resumes the narrative of the Army
Air Force. Pilots at the Fighter Command School, which was
then being remodeled into the School of Applied Tactics, were
still studying a book called Pursuit Aviation, the lectures of
former Captain Claire Lee Chennault. Current bombardment
manuals were almost entirely theoretical. But at the point where
this volume suspends its story, two years later, B-29s were ready-
ing and Black Widows were in the air.
Probably no phase of air plans and operations during World
World War II presents greater problems than the period treated
by this book. The two dozen months were a period of incredibly
rapid transitions. Necessity called for constant innovation in both
strategy and tactics. Geography and the distractions of the Euro-
pean war made logistics a nightmare. Finally, land, sea, and air
forces were assuming new relationships and responsibilities. Fac-
ing each of these circumstances, the makers of this record have
accomplished a difficult task in ways that are noteworthy both to
the historian and the general reader.
The best qualities of the account are not modern-Homeric:
dominant tones are simple and human, or highly technical and
judicious. Dozens of short stories flash in the narrative. The main
story is fast and varied; trifles like the menu of a squadron's
Christmas dinner stud a text that can present methodically, assess
with apparent fairness, and deny without reservation an official
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/. Accessed May 28, 2015.