The B-45 Tornado: An Operational History of the First American Jet Bomber
Author: John C. Fredriksen
Publisher: McFarland (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 272 pages
The North American B-45 Tornado was America's first jet bomber and was used in a number of vital missions for nearly a decade. Drawing from declassified secret documents, this history explains the bomber's use in strategic reconnaissance and atomic-weapon strike missions from its 1944 development to its role in the Cold War. The book includes numerous photographs and more than 100 interviews with pilots, navigators, and ground personnel.
The North American B-45 Tornado was America's first jet bomber and used in a number of key missions from 1944-1955. Drawing from declassified documents, Fredriksen paints a detailed picture of the bomber's use in strategic reconnaissance and atomic weapon strike mission throughout the first decade of the Cold War. The author covers not only the aircraft itself but the histories of the units involved, the air crews, the ground crews and the major commands.
Fredriksen has produced a well researched history of an oft-forgotten bomber. The detail in the book is painstakingly researched and presented in a logical manner that fills in all the blanks. His use of crew and staff interviews as well as his historian's appreciation towards the connections between people and events surrounding the Tornado make for interesting reading.
The book is profusely illustrated with photos that easily explain the material, as well an excellent set of end notes, bibliography and references. The books index is well done.
The book, as you would expect with a "straight" history book is not always an easy read, but that will not matter to people who appreciate that this is a history not a novel, and requires thought and study. This is a scholarly tome, not beach reading.
This book belongs on the shelf of any person who has an interest in aviation history, the history of the US Air Force, or the early days of the Cold War.
Reviewed by: David Tschanz (2010)