military books by servicemembers.






Walter J. Boyne

Home | United States Army | United States Marine Corps | United States Navy | United States Coast Guard | United States Air Force | Subject | Rank | Articles, Stories and Poetry | Contact Us | FAQs | Site Map

Colonel Walter J. Boyne, USAF (ret.), is the “former director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, enlisted as a private in the United States Air Force in 1951 and retired in 1974 as a Colonel with more than 5,000 hours in a score of different aircraft, from a Piper Cub to a B-52. He has written fifty books and hundreds of articles on aviation subjects and is one of only a few authors to have had both fiction and nonfiction books on The New York Times bestseller lists. His nonfiction books include The Smithsonian Book of Flight, The Leading Edge, Weapons of Desert Storm, and Boeing B-52: A Documentary History; his fiction books include The Wild Blue (with Steven Thompson), Trophy for Eagles, Dawn Over Kitty Hawk, and a trilogy on the history of jet aviation that includes Roaring Thunder, Supersonic Thunder and Hypersonic Thunder.


He has appeared on hundreds of television programs, and hosted and narrated two television series based on his books. The first was a 5 part series. The second was an 18 part series that appeared on PBS, based on his book Clash of Wings: World War II in the Air. (Somewhat mutilated by its cutting, editing and re-narration, it also appears on television under another name.) As a part of his television endeavors, Boyne co-founded Wingspan, the Air & Space Channel, which debuted successfully on the air prior to being purchased by the Discovery Channel.”


Among Colonel Walter J. Boyne’s books are: Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the U.S. Air Force, 1947-2007; Roaring Thunder: A Novel of the Jet Age; Dawn Over Kitty Hawk: The Novel of the Wright Brothers; Classic Aircraft; Supersonic Thunder: A Novel of the Jet Age; The Aircraft Treasures of Silver Hill; Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Why; Trophy for Eagles; Power Behind the Wheel; Eagles at War; World War II Aircraft: Great American Fighter Planes of the Second World War; The Leading Edge; The Yom Kippur War: And the Airlift Strike That Saved Israel; Air Warfare: An Encyclopedia; Clash of Wings World War II in the Air; and, The Smithsonian Book of Flight.


Among the books co-authored by Colonel Walter J. Boyne are: The Wild Blue: The Novel of the U.S. Air Force; Weapons of Desert Storm; Rising Tide: The Untold Story of the Russian Submarines that Fought the Cold War; and, he is also an editor of such books as Today's Best Military Writing: The Finest Articles on the Past, Present, and Future of the U.S. Military.


According to the book description of Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the U.S. Air Force, 1947-2007, “The second edition of Beyond the Wild Blue, an update of the popular history originally released in 1997, is a fascinating look at sixty turbulent years of Air Force history. From the prop-driven armada of World War II to the most advanced Stealth weaponry, from pioneers like General Henry "Hap" Arnold to glorious conquests in the Gulf War, Beyond the Wild Blue is a high-flying study of the triumphs (and failures) of leadership and technology.In three new chapters, Walter Boyne covers an eventful ten years, including 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the second Gulf War, describing in detail the technological advancements that led to highly efficient airstrikes in Iraq.  He also takes stock of the Air Force's doctrine and mission statements as this unique sector of the military grapples with an ever-changing world.”


Publisher’s Weekly said of Roaring Thunder: A Novel of the Jet Age, “Best known for his numerous first-class nonfiction aviation histories, Boyne has also produced aviation sagas (such as Roaring Thunder), and here inaugurates a trilogy with mixed success. Vance Shannon and his twin sons, Tom and Harry, are big shots in the American aircraft world: all three men do stints as flying aces and as brilliant engineers, working with the likes of Boeing and Lockheed to develop new jet technology. From 1955 to 1973, Vance and his sons participate in the development of the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes, supersonic transports and Learjets, as well as missile and satellite technology. Events like the Sputnik launching, the Cuban missile crisis, the invention of the Polaroid Land Camera and the Volkswagen car craze all play in, as do figures like a former Nazi thug, a mistress who spies for French intelligence and POWs in Vietnam. The aviation history and tech talk are sparkling, but the plot is an anemic mix of family saga, corporate politics and various forms of espionage.”


According to the book description of Supersonic Thunder: A Novel of the Jet Age, “from the first flight of the U-2 to the flashing speed of the famous SR-71 Blackbird, Supersonic Thunder is a portrait of the jet as it comes of age.  Aviation genius is personified in famous engineers such as Kelly Johnson and Ben Rich and in test pilots like Tony LeVier and Tex Johnson in this fast moving story of military and commercial jet aviation.


Under the guidance of test pilot and engineer, Vance Shannon, the reader is present at every major event in jet aviation in the 1960s and 1970s. As the ever-changing industry begins to speed up beyond Vance’s grasp, he turns to his two sons, Tom and Harry, to keep the family business on the cutting edge. Though they’ve followed in their fathers’ footsteps for many years, the stress from trying to stay ahead of the curve is destroying their families--as well as fueling a long hidden rivalry between the two brothers.  


As the Shannon family struggles with their personal and professional lives, Supersonic Thunder reveals the great leaps of the aviation industry during this astonishing era, from Gary Powers’ U-2 shoot down to the first flight of the Russian Supersonic Transport.  With historic and dramatic detail, we are taken behind the scenes, revealing the motivations of top Russian, English, and American designers as they push the limits of engines and airframes and confront the difficulties of the pursuit of Mach 2.0 speeds.


From the luxury of the 747 to the abject despair of a cell in the Hanoi Hilton, Supersonic Thunder tells the real story of this amazing chapter of jet aviation in terms of the men and women who lived and died to make it a part of our everyday life.”


Publisher’s Weekly said of Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Why, “This hastily assembled after-action report illustrates the pitfalls of writing military history before the dust has settled. A big one is that, lacking the necessary time to discern the forest from the trees, the author's narrative remains a clutter of disconnected events, organized into somewhat arbitrary three or four day increments covering mostly the period up to the fall of Baghdad. Boyne (Weapons of Desert Storm; On Clash of Titans)is a retired Air Force colonel, and his bird's-eye-view account sometimes relegates the Army to the task of flushing the Iraqi defenders into the open to be detected and annihilated by "Olympian" air power. The resulting turkey-shoot, he feels, vindicates the American military's futuristic "Revolution in Military Affairs" doctrine, combining omniscient satellite and aerial surveillance systems, precision-guided bombs and missiles, and elite special forces, the whole organized by all-encompassing computer and communications networks. In Boyne's estimate, what went right was the high-tech, computerized hardware; what went wrong was mostly the occasional shortage of it (especially modernized helicopters, tankers and transport planes); and the war's unsung heroes are Pentagon procurement officials, whose decades-long struggle to defend big-ticket weapons systems like the B-1 bomber and the AWACS radar plane against media nay-sayers and Congressional cost-cutters he recounts at length. Embedded in the jumble of acronyms and military jargon is a wealth of data, including a 65-page appendix listing the technical specifications of every plane, ship and tank in the war. But Boyne's starry-eyed vision of what gold-plated weaponry can achieve seems a premature lesson to draw from a conflict that's far from over.”


According to the book description of The Yom Kippur War: And the Airlift Strike That Saved Israel, “It's usually called the Yom Kippur War. Or sometimes the October War. The players that surround it are familiar: Sadat and Mubarak, Meir and Sharon, Nixon and Kissinger, Brezhnev and Dobyrnin. It was a war that brought Arab and Jew into vicious conflict. A war in which Israel almost unleashed her nuclear arsenal and set two superpowers on a treacherous course of nuclear escalation.


And a war that eventually brought peace. But a peace fraught with delicate tensions, disputed borders, and a legacy of further bloodshed. The Two O'Clock War is a spellbinding chronicle of the international chess game that was played out in October 1973. It is a story of diplomacy and military might that accounts for many of the dilemmas faced in the present-day Middle East.


This is a war that Israel never thought was possible. Surprised by the fury and excellent execution of the Arab onslaught, and perhaps more than a little complacent, Israel suddenly found itself on the point of losing a war because of a lack of ammunition, planes and tanks. The United States, after much vacillation, finally elected to help Israel, beginning a tremendous airlift (code name: Operation Nickel Grass) which incurred the wrath of the Arab states, and their sponsor, the Soviet Union.


Fortunately the airlift came just in time for Israeli ground forces to stabilize their positions and eventually turn the tide in the Sinai and Golan Heights. And it was all made possible by an operation that dwarfed the Berlin Airlift and the Soviets' simultaneous efforts in Egypt and Syria. The Two O'Clock War is bound to become the definitive history of a war that quite literally approached Armageddon.”


According to the book description of Rising Tide: The Untold Story of the Russian Submarines that Fought the Cold War, “Of all the secrets the Soviet Union kept, none were more closely guarded than those involving their submarines. Now, for the first time, here is the complete, dramatic story of the Soviet side of these secretive operations during the Cold War. Drawing on newly available archives, as well as interviews with a dozen former Soviet commanders-access never before granted to Western researchers- this gripping narrative shows that confrontations between nuclear-armed subs were far more dangerous than ever thought. With 16 pages of never-before-seen photos, Rising Tide sheds new light on the darkest secrets of the Cold War.”


The MOAA said of Dawn Over Kitty Hawk: The Novel of the Wright Brothers, “We know who invented the airplane: Wilbur and Orville Wright. Lost in history are the names of those who, in the closing years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th, shared the passion to develop the first powered aircraft. Some spent fortunes chasing that dream. Some spent their lives. Boyne's historical novel relives it all.”

Roaring Thunder: A Novel of the Jet Age
Walter J. Boyne  More Info

F/A-18 Hornet: A Navy Success Story (Walter J. Boyne Military Aircraft)
Dennis R. Jenkins  More Info

Rising Tide: The Untold Story of the Russian Submarines that Fought the Cold War
Gary E. Weir  More Info

Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Why
Walter J. Boyne  More Info

Today's Best Military Writing: The Finest Articles on the Past, Present, and Future of the U.S. Military
Forge Books  More Info

B-2 Spirit: The Most Capable War Machine on the Planet (Walter J. Boyne Military Aircraft)
Steve Pace  More Info

World War II Aircraft: Great American Fighter Planes of the Second World War (Collector's Series)
Walter J. Boyne  More Info

The Wild Blue: The Novel of the U.S. Air Force
Walter J. Boyne  More Info

The Yom Kippur War: And the Airlift Strike That Saved Israel
Walter J. Boyne  More Info

Air Warfare: An Encyclopedia 2 Volume set
ABC-Clio  More Info

Dawn Over Kitty Hawk: The Novel of the Wright Brothers
Walter J. Boyne  More Info
The Leading Edge.
Walter J. Boyne  More Info
Supersonic Thunder: A Novel of the Jet Age
Walter J. Boyne  More Info
Weapons of Desert Storm
USAF (Ret) Col. Walter J. Boyne  More Info
Clash Of Titans: World War II At Sea
Walter J. Boyne  More Info
Classic Aircraft
Walter J. Boyne  More Info

Publisher’s Weekly said of Today's Best Military Writing: The Finest Articles on the Past, Present, and Future of the U.S. Military, “Colonel Boyne's impressive compilation of the best military writing of the past five years reflects the wide range (and excellent quality) of writing on military topics, even if not all of its articles are easily accessible to lay readers. The anthology's 21 contributors cover both historical and contemporary events-from Spencer Tucker's history of Admiral Andrew Foote's service on an anti-slavery patrol during the mid-1800s to Stephen Flynn's proposal that the Coast Guard be put in charge of today's Homeland Security. Major Prisco Hernandez's essay "No Master Plan" even appears to straddle the temporal divide since its discussion of Army artillery during the Indian Wars may eventually be pertinent to the War on Terror, which also must deal with the challenges posed by dispersed targets, rugged terrain and long, vulnerable supply lines. Two articles-"The Looming Biological Warfare Storm" and "The Emerging Biocruise Threat"-make a gruesome matched set, as both illuminate how the potential of cheap (and rapidly proliferating) cruise missiles affects the possible outcomes of a biological war. A former director of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum and a bestselling author, Boyne (Operation Iraqi Freedom; Dawn Over Kitty Hawk) has clearly chosen his selections not only for the pleasure of their prose but also with an eye to educating readers about the most pressing military issues of our time. For serious students of military science, the result is an absolute treasure trove.”


Publisher’s Weekly said of Trophy for Eagles, “Boyne, coauthor of The Wild Blue , here explores the golden age of aviation: the years from 1927 to 1937, when flying airplanes developed from an art to a craft and building them evolved from a craft to an industry. While peopled with historical characters such as Lindbergh, Howard Hughes and Ernst Udet, the relationship between two pilots, American Frank Bandfield and expatriate German Bruno Hafner, is at the novel's heart; their rivalry is the thread on which Boyne strings his vignettes. High-risk air racing in Depression America, innovations in design and production, the creation of Hitler's Luftwaffe , the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War--all find their place in this complex, compelling narrative. A former director of the National Air and Space Museum, Boyne impressively details flight techniques and aircraft construction. He even writes convincingly of the shortcomings that keep imaginary aircraft from entering production in his fictional universe. Technical material is so well integrated into the narrative, and human relationships are so dominated by flying, that it seems only natural when lovers talk of airplanes at intimate moments.”


Publisher’s Weekly said of Power Behind the Wheel, “Clearly enjoying his subject, Boyne ( The Leading Edge ) offers here a lively portrait of man's second best friend, tracking the automobile from its creation to the present. The book is accompanied by some 200 elegant photographs: a 1938 Jaguar SS-100 gleaming beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, a beetle VW production line, French soldiers touring in a huge Peugeot in 1918, Cadillacs, Packards, Model T's, Cords, Bentleys, Austins, Ferraris, Bugattis. Boyne discusses such far-flung issues as the fuel crisis of the 1970s, bank-robber Clyde Barrow's fondness for the Ford V-8, the "visceral impact" that the Jaguar XK-120 had on the automotive worldand its relationship to the equally influential Datsun 240Zas well as considerations of the pros and cons of solar, steam and electrically powered vehicles. There are chapters on classic car restoration, on engine and body design and an amusing discourse entitled "Nobody's Perfect: Quirks of the Road," which touches on some notable failures including the Bond mini-car, the Dymaxion and the Tucker 48, and asks the eternal question: "Are four wheels necessary?" First serial to Motor Trends ; Literary Guild alternate.”


According to the book description of Air Warfare: An Encyclopedia, “This encyclopedia of war in the air documents the entire history of aerial combat - from the primitive biplanes of World War I to the sophisticated stealth fighters of the 21st century. More than 100 scholars and experts - many with personal combat experience - offer researched articles on the famous aces, designers, battles, air campaigns, weapons and flying machines of air warfare's first 90 years. Accessible to student, enthusiast and scholar alike, the book aims to provide the reader with argument-settling expertise and answers to questions such as: who first used air power against civilians?; how did a handful of Royal Air Force aces defeat the mighty Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain?; has bombing alone ever won a war?; and where does the future of aerial warfare lie? Also included are full discussions of aviation lore, descriptions of famous aerial exploits, combats aces, airplane makers, and other visionaries.”

2006 - 2017 Hi Tech Criminal Justice