Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

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Little, Brown, Nov 21, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 504 pages
John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever -- the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than forty seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft -- the F-15 and F-16. Still others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They know only half the story.

Boyd, more than any other person, saved fighter aviation from the predations of the Strategic Air Command. His manual of fighter tactics changed the way every air force in the world flies and fights. He discovered a physical theory that forever altered the way fighter planes were designed. Later in life, he developed a theory of military strategy that has been adopted throughout the world and even applied to business models for maximizing efficiency. And in one of the most startling and unknown stories of modern military history, the Air Force fighter pilot taught the U.S. Marine Corps how to fight war on the ground. His ideas led to America's swift and decisive victory in the Gulf War and foretold the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

On a personal level, Boyd rarely met a general he couldn't offend. He was loud, abrasive, and profane. A man of daring, ferocious passion and intractable stubbornness, he was that most American of heroes -- a rebel who cared not for his reputation or fortune but for his country. He was a true patriot, a man who made a career of challenging the shortsighted and self-serving Pentagon bureaucracy. America owes Boyd and his disciples -- the six men known as the "Acolytes" -- a great debt.

Robert Coram finally brings to light the remarkable story of a man who polarized all who knew him, but who left a legacy that will influence the military -- and all of America -- for decades to come . . .

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hereandthere - LibraryThing

A fighter pilot is an assassin, we are are reminded by Robert Coram, and Colonel John Richard Boyd (January 23, 1927 – March 9, 1997) was one of the best. He was a full-of-himself, obscene, tough ... Read full review

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User Review  - Harlan879 - LibraryThing

This is an extraordinarily researched and well-written biography of how amazing intellect and dedication can overcome massive personal and personality flaws to yield real change in the world. Nobody ... Read full review


Copyright Acknowledgments
Reminiscences Part 1 FIGHTER PILOT
Haunted Beginnings
The Big Jock and the Presbytreian
K13 and Mig Alley
High Priest
Pope John Goes Severely Supersonic
The Fighter Mafia Does the Lords Work
A ShortLegged Bird
Spook Base
Take a Look at the
This Briefing is for Information Purposes Only
The Buttonhook Turn
Destruction and Creation

FortySecond Boyd and the Tactics Manual
Thermo Entropy and the Breakthrough
Chapter 11 The Sugarplum Fairy Spreads the Gospel Chapter 12 Pull the Wings off and Paint It Yellow
Ive Never Designed a Fighter Plane Before
Saving the F15
Ride of the Valkyries
Boyd Joins the Marines
They Think Im a Kook
El Cid Rides

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About the author (2002)

Robert Coram was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his work as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is the author of seven novels and four nonfiction books, including American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day and Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. He lives in Atlanta.

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