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Publisher's Summary

The firebombing of Tokyo. Strategic Air Command. John F. Kennedy. Dr. Strangelove. George Wallace. All of these have one man in common—General Curtis LeMay, who remains as enigmatic and controversial as he was in life. 

Until now. Warren Kozak traces the trajectory of America’s most infamous general, from his troubled background and heroic service in Europe to his firebombing of Tokyo, guardianship of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the Cold War, frustrated career in government, and short-lived political run. Curtis LeMay’s life spanned an epoch in American military history, from the small U.S. Army Air Corps of the interwar years to the nuclear age.

LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay tells the whole story of the innovative pilot and navigator; the courageous general who led his bomber formations from the front, flying the lead bomber; the brilliant strategist; the unflagging patriot; and the founder of modern strategic bombing, who was both famous and notorious. The book is an unprecedented glimpse into the might and mind of one of the founding fathers of air power, whose influence, and controversy, continues to this day.

©2009 Warren Kozak (P)2012 Phoenix Books

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What listeners say about LeMay

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Definition.....Leader.....General Curtis Le May

What did you love best about LeMay?

He thoroughly knew his mission and committed every ounce of his being to see it through to ultimate Victory

Who was your favorite character and why?

who else but General Curtis Le May. He understood we were at war,and there are no half measures in war. He lead from the front and used every resource made available to him to bring down the Japanese empire from the air. Much criticized for his ruthless attitude of round the clock firebombing of japan which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians but anything less would of been half measure. His attitude of ill take the job as long as everyone is clear im here to kill the enemy non stop 24 hours a day 7 days a week forever if necessary if that sounds to harsh or maniacal Get somebody else!! I fight to win. America is The powerful nation it is because a boy can be born holding the seeds of greatness in his heart and with hard work rise from nothing to be a great man a man like Curtis Le May

Which character – as performed by Grainger Hines – was your favorite?

Grainger Hines did a superb job narrating I enjoyed all 3 listens

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

one Generals formula for victory

Any additional comments?

Forget his Politics forgive his mistakes for in our nations darkest days was a high ranking Army officer who lead his men into the frighting sky's of Europe against a highly trained and experienced Luftwaffe trying to perfect the fledgling art of precision daylight bombing he didn't have to fly but he did he was the boss he trained his men relentlessly to win and when the worst of the worst missions came he calmed his men by saying do your job and follow me My favorite General Curtis Le May

3 people found this helpful

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Well worth the time.

LeMay is much underappreciated in his role. This is an excellent overview of him and his life.

The performance is good and the tale is excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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Great account of a hero

I knew of the man and some of his accomplishments, not the full story! Outstanding.

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Excellent story.

I’ve always liked Gen. Lemay. He made the Air Force great through the 80s, even though he died before that.

This narrator has troubles pronouncing simple words correctly. Was this Audible book even edited. It’s disgraceful.

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  • J
  • 10-29-18

A must read for any serious student of military and especially Air Force history

The book is great, and overall the performance is good... but the problem is there is no consistency in the volume. The reader whispers one word and yells the next. If you’re listening on headphones or in the car, watch out!!! Considering those are the most common options, just expect to be fiddling with the volume constantly.

Overall though, this is a must read for students of military history, especially those looking for Air Force history.

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Brilliant!

What a great book at such a detailed account of a true American hero. The stories told in this biography keep the listener both entertained and in awe. This book is great for anyone interested in Air Force or military history.

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Unfortunately poorly written and read

Excellent source for anecdotes. Look elsewhere for good viewpoint of or about Lemay and/or WWII.

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A complex man

General LeMay, a remarkable soldier, yet a misunderstood man except by those closest to him.

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A Hero a Friend

I knew General LeMay and served under him in strategic air command. He was a gentleman. He

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Worst narrator in my experience with audible

It would seem that an audiobook narrator should be able to read at at least the 12th grade level. Unfortunately that did not appear to be the case with this book. He mangled many words he obviously did not recognize. And he pronounced a D that does not exist in the word important.

I also wonder if this production editor. If it did I would recommend against using him/her again

The story was well written and informative.

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  • Derrick
  • 04-22-14

Adequate biography, poorly narrated

This is a fairly unimaginative but adequate biography of a fascinating man. It draws heavily upon secondary sources, especially LeMay's own autobiography, so centres very much on his wartime experiences rather than his SAC time and after his retirement. It is also pretty uncritical, and does a weak job in debating the vastly controversial issues surrounding this complex man. Nonetheless, it does describe, albeit from LeMay's perspective, his role in the strategic bombing of both Germany and Japan, and to a lesser degree, his role in the development of Strategic Air Command. His relationship with MacNamara and two Presidents in the '60s is also touched upon, although this fascinating and important topic is not well covered, as it is not well covered in LeMay's own book.

It is fine as far as it goes, but the production is poor. There are many instances where "fluffs" are not edited, but the most salient issue is the narration, which is memorably dreadful. The narrator manages to mangle almost every 4 syllable word in the book (really; after a while I started to watch out for them). He invents new words all of his own as he stumbles past the three syllable mark and loses concentration with the rest of the word. His ability to get the intonation wrong started to turn English into a different language. As for foreign names and places, the fun was often trying to fathom where or whom he actually meant.

All in all, it was OK, but that is all.

1 person found this helpful