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The successful use of strategic U.S. air power in the South West Pacific during World War II enabled Gen. Douglas MacArthur to advance from Australia to Japan. This book examines the inexorable thrust of the general's U.S. Army's 5th Air Force, under air commander Gen. George C. Kenney, in the hard-hitting campaigns against the Japanese Army Air Force bases in New Guinea. During 1943 and 1944, the 5th Air Force destroyed its Japanese opponent three times, eventually opening the way for the advance—ahead of schedule—of MacArthur's Allied forces through New Guinea to the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies.
No other book describes these crucial operations in such breadth or detail. From the national level to the individual fighter pilot's level, the author chronicles what happened. Of particular merit is Lex McAuley's portrayal of the Japanese side of the conflict, including an inside look at the problems of the Japanese Air Force high command. The author explains the varying degrees of understanding the concept of air power exhibited by both Japanese and U.S. commanders, including not only the type of aircraft produced by each country but the ways in which the aircraft were used. Air combat missions come vividly and dramatically to life through the use of oral history interviews that lend an authoritative air to the book.