Admiral John S. McCain and the Triumph of Naval Air Power

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  • Pages:
  • Published:
    April 15, 2019
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  • Product Dimensions:
    9.25 × 6.125 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    29 oz
Hardcover $8.40
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Admiral John S. McCain and the Triumph of Naval Air Power covers the life and professional career of Adm. John S. McCain Sr. (1884–1945). Spanning most of the first half of the twentieth century, McCain’s life and career highlight the integration of aviation into the Navy, emphasizing the evolution of the aircraft carrier from a tactical element of the fleet stressing sea control to a strategic force capable of long-range power projection.

Although much of the book focuses on carrier aviation, McCain was instrumental in the emergence of flying boats, considered essential for long-range reconnaissance in the Pacific. One of the senior officers branded as “Johnny-Come-Latelys” by pioneer aviators, McCain nevertheless brought fresh approaches and innovation to naval aviation. His prewar and initial wartime commands encompassed tender-based and shore-based aviation, which were critical to early operations in the Pacific, yet McCain also understood the power and potential of carrier-based aviation, initially as commanding officer of the USS Ranger before the war, then as a carrier task force commander under Adm. William F. Halsey in the Pacific in 1944 and 1945. Moreover, he served tours as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics and the first Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air) in 1942–1944. In these posts he witnessed and played a role in the culmination of naval air power as a means of delivering crippling blows to the enemy’s homeland. McCain was among only a handful of officers who achieved prominence during the war and who had experience in all of these varied and challenging levels of command.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Rarely does a naval officer influence directly and indirectly the conduct of major war. This fine biography shows how McCain influenced US Navy air power in a personnel role and then as a Carrier Task Force commander in the Pacific. Most Highly Recommended.” —FIRE Reviews
“In William F. Trimble's new biography, Admiral John S. McCain: And the Triumph of Naval Air Power, we get a fascinating history of the rise of carrier-based aviation during World War II through the life of the McCain patriarch, warts and all.” —Navy Reads
"This is a solid, serious, significant book about an important albeit imperfect WWII admiral, and - more that that - an intense history of the carrier operations he commanded." —Stone & Stone Second World War Books
"William Trimble's new biography of Adm. John S. ('Slew') McCain is one of the finest naval history books to appear in years. His analysis of McCain's life and many contributions to naval aviation and the U.S. Navy as a whole is fundamental to understanding the Navy's part in winning the Pacific War. The work is exceptionally well researched and scrupulously objective, without exaggerating McCain's successes or whitewashing his failures." —John B. Lundstrom, author of Black Shoe Carrier Admiral
"Bill Trimble, whose previous works have chronicled several notable figures in Naval Aviation, has produced an outstanding biography of John McCain, one of the pioneering naval aviators who transformed naval air power from a tactical supplement of the fleet to a powerful striking force that could project power from the sea. Under McCain and other flag officers, naval air power, organized into multicarrier task forces, evolved from a tactical supplement to the battle fleet dedicated to sea control and protecting sea lines of communication into an independent strategic striking force. By the end of World War II, the aircraft carrier was capable of a sustained forward presence and could project power from the sea in ways no one could have imagined only a decade before. McCain and others witnessed and took part in this transformation, which shaped and was shaped in the crucible of global war. From other historians we know the broad contours of this change in the strategic seascape, but only a few have filled in the particulars. The life and naval career of John McCain provides a lens to bring those details into sharper focus." —Thomas Wildenberg author of All the Factors of Victory: Adm. Joseph Mason Reeves and the Origins of Carrier Air Power
“William Trimble earns a snappy salute for this excellent biography of a figure who played a key role in the triumph of U.S. naval air power…. Trimble shines with his wide-ranging research in primary and key secondary sources and with his even hand on both McCain’s achievements and his failures.” —Naval HIstory
“This book has a broad focus but is full of finely-researched details which are especially relevant to the way in which the Pacific War was fought by the USA and its Commonwealth allies…. I thoroughly recommend it to historians, naval professionals and even those who take an interest in how a great man led his life in the Navy.” —The Australian Naval Institute
“This is an important book, about an Admiral and family Australia may wish to consider as one of their own. Professor Trimble tells the story well, thank you.” —The NAVY
“Dr. Trimble’s book will serve as a rich reward for the serious scholar of aviation history and any reader in search of a greater understanding of naval aviation’s important contributions to Allied victory in the Pacific.” —Air & Space Power Journal
“This book is a worthy addition to the Studies in Naval History and Sea Power series sponsored by the Naval Institute and edited by Christopher M. Bell and James C. Bradford…. This is an important book and extremely readable… It provides a picture of a man and of a navy performing their collective duties in the crucible of war and is an essential volume for anyone interested in the history of US naval aviation.” —History: Reviews of New Books
“This biography of Adm. John S. McCain Sr., father of the future admiral who commanded U.S. forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War, and grandfather of the future famous Navy attack pilot, POW and U.S. senator, is a much-needed addition to a line-up of books on significant naval leaders of World War II.” —Seapower
“Trimble crafts a compelling narrative between developments in naval aviation, personal relationships between commanders, and Capitol Hill…. The reader will comprehend how and why McCain and naval air power triumphed in the Pacific.” —RealClearDefense
“Trimble’s account of Admiral McCain’s life and contributions to naval air power is a must-read for those interested in the subject…. Trimble’s work is a definitive success and another addition to his growing list of publications on the history (and future) of naval aviation.” —Naval Historical Foundation
“William Trimble’s Admiral John S. McCain and the Triumph of Naval Air Power blends impeccable archival research and interviews into a combination of historical narrative and biography…. This is one of only a handful of serious works on Admiral McCain and presents the often-overlooked aspects of scouting forces and logistics management in a long-deserved spotlight that will appeal to any reader of aviation or naval history. Trimble achieved a worthy objective of giving McCain the credit due an admiral who was as responsible as any other for victory in the Pacific. Trimble’s exceptional scholarship returns McCain to life as a fiery defender of naval aviation and a measured leader who witnessed some of the darkest hours of the Pacific War and its most joyous moments.” —Journal of Military History
“The author, who has long been a specialist in U.S. naval aviation has made a name for himself in his latest study of Admiral John Sidney McCain (1884-1945).” —Militärgeschichtlichen Zeitschrift
“The writing style is clear and engaging. The book includes a number of helpful maps as well as photographs that illuminate the text. This first full biography of Admiral McCain provides a thoughtful perspective on a critical figure in the US Navy in World War II and is recommended for general readers interested in the war at sea.” —H-War
“This new biography will go a long way toward reviving interest in one of the war’s most important U.S. naval commanders. The book shows that not only was McCain a highly successful combat commander, he was also one of the principal architects of the airborne Navy, without which the war could not have been won.” —Aviation History
Admiral John S. McCain and the Triumph of Naval Air Power gives a very good insight into the course of the war in the Pacific and deepens it through the special consideration of the role of the naval forces.” —Truppendienst
“This is a story about John S. McCain and the advancement—and eventual triumph—of naval aviation against Japan…. It’s a well-written text, filled with wonderful pictures and useful maps.” —Military Review
“This is an excellent, well-written book, making extensive use of primary sources and presenting sound judgments.” —War in History
Admiral John S. McCain and the Triumph of Naval Air Power is good book for anyone with an interest in the Pacific War or carrier aviation.” —StrategyPage