Fly Boy Heroes, The Story of the Medal of Honor Recipients of the Air War Against Japan
By James H. Hallas. Stackpole Books, $29.95.
The First Counterspy
By Kay Haas and Walter W. Pickut. Lyons Press, $29.95.
Aug. 22, 2022, © Leeham News: Two books from my summer reading aren’t about commercial aviation but will be interesting to the broader aviation community.
These are Fly Boy Heroes, The Story of the Medal of Honor Recipients of the Air War Against Japan, and The First Counterspy.
Fly Boy chronicles short stories about the US Medal of Recipients who flew against Japan in the Second World War. Author James Hallas begins with the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor and ends with an April 12, 1945, Boeing B-29 raid on Japan. In between, the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in April 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea, Midway (the outgrowth of the Doolittle Raid), and other combat missions are recounted. The Medal of Honor recipients of these battles are, as the book’s title suggests, the flyboys whose above-and-beyond exploits earned them the Medal. Not all survived their missions, but some did. For those who did, not all had happily ever after endings late in the war or in civilian life.
Being a Chicago area native, I knew that O’Hare International Airport was named after Lt. Commander Edward O’Hare, more commonly known as “Butch.” I also knew, though few others today might, that Butch was the son of Chicago mobster Edgar J. O’Hare, or E. J. E.J. was a lawyer for Al Capone and testified at Capone’s tax evasion trial that sent the mobster to Alcatraz. For his troubles, E.J. was murdered in 1939.
Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric
By Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann
Mariner Books, $17.99, 361 Pages
The Man Who Broke Capitalism, How Jack Welch Gutted the Heartland and Crush the Sole of Corporate America—and How to Undo His Legacy
By David Gelles
Simon & Schuster, $28.00, 264 Pages
Aug. 1, 2022, © Leeham News: Two recent books about GE and its most prominent CEO, Jack Welch, offer different focus and fascinating insight.
One, Lights Out, is a detailed chronicle of the Welch era and those who followed. This book goes into much more detail than Gelles’, which is more of a biography of Welch than a corporate history—although obviously, there is pollination of both.
Gelles, a reporter for the New York Times, goes into some discussion about Boeing and the Welch-influenced people who came to lead Boeing, notably Jim McNerney and David Calhoun. But don’t expect Gelles’ book to take a deep dive into how Welch’s tutelage of McNerney and Calhoun affected Boeing. The discussion is superficial. This is, after all, a book focused on Welch.