Thursday, January 16, 2014
Pacific Air by David Sears (Da Capo Press, 2011)
The subtitle, "How Fearless Flyboys, Peerless Aircraft, and Fast Flattops Conquered the Skies in the War with Japan," nicely summarizes this history of the U.S. Navy's air battles in World War II. The book focuses on the development of Grumman aircraft and highlights some heroic test pilots who were instrumental in shaking out the F6F Hellcat. The author also details the careers of Butch OHare and other F4F Wildcat aviators who did much to counter superior Japanese aircraft and gave vital feedback to Grumman. The final section of the book gives an exciting account of the payoff of these sacrifices as the powerful Hellcat smashed the Japanese air opposition in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in 1944.