Boyd : The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

4.36 (2,825 ratings by Goodreads)
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A detailed portrait of American fighter pilot John Boyd examines his distinguished military career during the Korean War and his postwar efforts as a military theorist who took on the entrenched Pentagon bureaucracy to transform the art of modern warfare and the American military with his revolution
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Product details

  • Paperback | 504 pages
  • 140 x 207 x 36mm | 460g
  • Little, Brown and Company
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 8 Halftones, black & white
  • 0316796883
  • 9780316796880
  • 15,259

Review quote

""Fascinating....An excellent book....Coram captures the dazzling diversity of John Boyd--fighter pilot, aerial tactician, engineer, and scholar."
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Rating details

2,825 ratings
4.36 out of 5 stars
5 54% (1,533)
4 31% (880)
3 12% (330)
2 2% (64)
1 1% (18)

Our customer reviews

This is an extraordinary biography of an extraordinary man. I came across this because I was looking for insight into Boyd's most famous theory, the OODA loop. I finished the book realising that, like most everybody else, I hadn't even grasped the fundamentals. More, I gained an absolutely fascinating insight into the journey of an extraordinary mind. Boyd was responsible for three separate strategic revolutions - the codification of fighter tactics, his "energy-maneuverability theory" which changed fighter design beyond all recognition, and the OODA loop, which has been embraced by the US Marines and, incidentally, has informed the decision making of militaries all over the world. And yet while Coram presents Boyd's remarkable achievements, he does not shy away from Boyd's almost-outrageous faults. He was a dreadful family man. More, however, he was both a genius and a fighter pilot. Both of which are known for their poor social skills. Boyd combined the worst aggressive arrogance of the fighter pilot, with the worst intensity of the genius. One is left feeling profoundly disappointed, because - by irritating the hell out of people who could help him - he single-handedly ensured he would remain the ultimate outsider, and that his work would have to fight for acceptance. Without Tom Christie, who understood diplomacy a little more, Boyd would still be unknown. And the F16 would never have been built. Nor would the A-10. And the Marines would still be planning D-Day style frontal attacks instead of maneuver warfare. And yet could it have been any other way? Boyd was manic. Obsessive. Probably just a little bit unstable. But that was precisely why he started drawing conclusions nobody else could draw. The closed circle is infuriating - the factors which made him a genius, also ensured his ideas would have incredible difficulty finding acceptance. Coram captures all of this beautifully. Even better, this is an easy book to read. Fluency in neither pilot-jargon nor engineer-nerdspeak is required. If this book is not required reading in every military academy around the world, it jolly well should be. Just more
by Anthony Marinac
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