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Week 17: Lindt Choc Chip Cookies and "The Bomber Mafia"

WHY THIS BOOK?


This book was different from Malcolm Gladwell’s other books. World War II history is not part of my genre that I like to read. I do know authors like to use Navy or the Army examples to highlight team building or leadership. This book follows two generals Curtis LeMay and Haywood Hansell and their different leadership styles. I won't ruin it for you by sharing what happens between both of them. Hansell is a member of the Bomber Mafia which is a group of highly skilled men who believed long range precision bombing would help to win the war. It is a derogatory term given to this group as the military did not believe them. Remember we are talking about 1939 to 1945. Haywood Hansell thought that having precision bombing would reduce the number of casualities and they used the Norden bombsight that allowed you to put in various measurements to be able to hit your target precisely. The big gotcha was that you had to see the target and so if it was a cloudy day the instrument would be less effective. Hansell was entirely focused on precision bombing and couldn’t think of another solution. Now Curtis LeMay was a general who focused on all scenarios and prepared his army with multiple drills. For example, he had his crew practice taking off in the fog and flying the planes with low visibility. As the war waged on another option was created Napalm. Now Napalm was a gel that kept burning so when the bomb was dropped and this gel like substance went everywhere it would burn for miles and miles. As it turns out Curtis LeMay used Napalm and proceeded to bomb Tokyo which resulted in more persons killed by fire in a 6 hour period than any other time in history. LeMay proceeded to bomb the rest of Japan which resulted in so much devastation. As I read the book it showed me how one leader can cause a lot of destruction compared to a leader. Now I know we are talking about war and I do not have any sense of what that would be like. Overall it was an interesting read about a time in history.


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