• Boyd

  • The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
  • By: Robert Coram
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 19 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (1,611 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest US fighter pilot ever - the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than 40 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. 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.

©2002 Robert Coram (P)2016 Tantor

What listeners say about Boyd

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Stick With It if You Want a Rare Gem

Any additional comments?

This was not what I expected at all but turned into a fascinating story about the military machine. At first it seems as if it is written by a Boyd evangelist (and it occasionally takes a trip back to that feeling throughout) but it is an amazing story none the less. It is not so much about a fighter pilot as about a man whom I believe was somewhere on the autism spectrum and managed to do some pretty amazing feats inside of a huge government bureaucracy. Do not get this book expecting dogfight descriptions, though there are some. Just get it and let it take you down the path it wants to. You will not regret it if you like a good story.

17 people found this helpful

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Hard to Start, Hard to Finish.

If you want to know about Boyd the fighter pilot. skip the first 1/3 of the book.

If you want to know about Boyd the disrupter and Father of Manuver Warfare, skip the first 2/3s

Boyd's personal and family life was some of the most depressing thing I've read in a very long while. And it is often a focus of this book. Without a doubt he was a monumental figure whose influence on the modern military cannot be understated. But FFS, this is a hard book to get through.

Good Luck.

8 people found this helpful

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Outstanding!

I loved learning the background behind the legendary Col. John Boyd. The reader does an excellent job of telling the life story of Col. Boyd, and there was obviously a great deal of research done prior to the book being written. I highly recommend this book!

Semper Fi, Colonel.

8 people found this helpful

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Excellent book. Great story and narration.

Excellent book about a fascinating man and his contributions to modern military strategy and weapons systems. The narration is compelling and professional.

6 people found this helpful

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Great Story

This is a long but great story of our nation's aeronautical history. I would absolutely recommend it if you are interested in history or aviation!

6 people found this helpful

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An absolutely great read

What did you love best about Boyd?

I loved how it covered the history of modern aviation in terms of the design of aircraft.

Any additional comments?

A friend recommended the book to me and I finally got around to reading/listening to it. It is better than I ever could have possibly expected. It does a great job of documenting and explaining how modern aviation took form in terms of tactics and plain design. Really a diamond in the rough.

5 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected

I think this is the most down to earth, soup to nuts story about John Boyd. I felt the biographer did not pull any punches to tell the story. Great book.

4 people found this helpful

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Boyd, An overlooked game changer.

A fascinating behind scene look of one man's impact on today's military and the politics fought.

One man the nation should be great full to have served us all.

4 people found this helpful

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Waste of time

This book is about a guy who likes to get his own way and when he doesn't he create a tantrum like any two year old. This book cannot and should not be compared to the Art of War.

3 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

An inspiring life story of one of the best military strategist in history and his incessant battles against a military bureaucracy that resisted change. The contributions he made were tragically juxtaposed with his abysmal efforts as a father and husband.

The second half of the book, where we learn about the origins of Boyd's theories and their fundamental principles, I found to be more compelling, though the subject matter requires a lot of secondary reading to fully appreciate. The OODA Loop can be a powerful tool if understood.

On pure literary value, the stories that fill this book entertained me and never felt the pace drag.

Critique: the author goes to great lengths, through tone, word choice, etc., to paint Boyd as the white knight and everyone opposed to him as enemies. In reality nothing is ever this cut and dry. The Pentagon and Generals seemed almost mystical in their disdain for the well-being of servicemen. Then again, this depiction may be entirely accurate and lacking undue bias.

3 people found this helpful

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