Every Man a Tiger (Revised): The Gulf War Air Campaign (Commander Series)

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9780425207369: Every Man a Tiger (Revised): The Gulf War Air Campaign (Commander Series)

General Chuck Horner commanded the U.S. and allied air assets—the forces of a dozen nations—during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and was responsible for the design and execution of one of the most devastating air campaigns in history. Never before has the Gulf air war planning, a process filled with controversy and stormy personalities, been revealed in such rich, provocative detail. And in this revised edition, General Horner looks at the current Gulf conflict—and comments on the use of air power in Iraq today.

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Review:

This Tom Clancy real-life military thriller is more nuanced than his novels, because its object is not simply to dramatize armed conflict but to relate the life lessons of his source, jet-pilot-turned-Desert-Storm-air-commander General Chuck Horner. Horner is no war cheerleader like General "Buck" Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove. He loathes the arrogance of the backwards, nuke-happy Strategic Air Command and the madly out-of-touch Vietnam War planner Robert McNamara. McNamara confesses his folly in two books, Argument Without End and In Retrospect, but Horner's you-are-there account more vividly demonstrates Vietnam's grim lessons. He flew an F-105 Thunderbird "Thud" fighter in the Wild Weasels, the unit with the highest medals-per-aircrew ratio, knew pilots who were stoned to death by villagers, and realized all the bombing did zero good. "All we really had to do was befriend Ho," says Horner sensibly. "Seems he wasn't part of a monolithic Communist plot, and hated the Chinese more than anything else." Horner is savvy about the screwups, the achievements, and the political maneuvering in and after the Gulf War, as leaders and branches of service battled for PR victories. His idea of a hero is Boomer McBroom's pilot Captain Gentner Drummond, who won a Flying Cross medal for refusing AWACS orders to down a jet that turned out to be a Saudi ally. Horner thinks the interservice and international cooperation in the Gulf War was way better than in Vietnam, but there's ample room for improvement. The action scenes aren't quite as brilliant as those in Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, but Clancy fans will find plenty to admire. Horner's improbable survival of a 150-m.p.h. near-crash in Libya in 1962 belongs in a Tom Clancy film. --Tim Appelo

About the Author:

Thirty years ago Tom Clancy was a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history. Years before, he had been an English major at Baltimore’s Loyola College and had always dreamed of writing a novel. His first effort, The Hunt for Red October, sold briskly as a result of rave reviews, then catapulted onto the New York Times bestseller list after President Reagan pronounced it “the perfect yarn.” From that day forward, Clancy established himself as an undisputed master at blending exceptional realism and authenticity, intricate plotting, and razor-sharp suspense. He passed away in October 2013.

Chuck Horner is a retired Air Force General who commanded the US and allied air assets—the forces of a dozen nations—during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and was responsible for the design and execution of one of the most devastating air campaigns in history. An Iowa native, he was commissioned into the Air Force Reserve in 1958 and received wings the following year. Horner is highly decorated, having earned three Distinguished Service Medals, two Silver Stars, and a Distinguished Flying Cross, among numerous other awards.

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