Biddle analyzes how a particular interpretation of the World War I experience, together with airmen's organizational interests, shaped interwar debates about strategic bombing and preserved conceptions of its potentially revolutionary character. This flawed interpretation as well as a failure to anticipate implementation problems were revealed as World War II commenced. By then, the British and Americans had invested heavily in strategic bombing. They saw little choice but to try to solve the problems in real time and make long-range bombing as effective as possible.
Combining narrative with analysis, this book presents the first-ever comparative history of British and American strategic bombing from its origins through 1945. In examining the ideas and rhetoric on which strategic bombing depended, it offers critical insights into the validity and robustness of those ideas--not only as they applied to World War II but as they apply to contemporary warfare.
As with other classics, many of its themes are timeless and quotations from the work can be meaningful apart from the thousands of years which separate us from the time and place of its creation.
The present work is a new edition based on the original translation of James Legge. The 19th century English prose of Legge is awkward to our modern ears, and slows down our reading and appreciation of this classic.
The Art of War is not a long book, but historically it has always been sold along with hundreds of pages of introduction, commentary, and analysis. More often than not that commentary itself is hard to understand, as much of it is hundreds or thousands of years old, and translated into the same awkward English prose.
This modern edition is meant to communicate the authentic essence and meaning of this work in modern, accessible English prose, focusing only on what can be clearly conveyed and understood, and jettisoning the rest.