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The Influence of Airpower upon HistoryThe Influence of Airpower upon History

Statesmanship, Diplomacy, and Foreign Policy since 1903

Robin Higham and Mark Parillo

Narrated by Todd A. Wilson

Available from Audible

Book published by University Press of Kentucky

From early zeppelins, to the Luftwaffe and the Enola Gay, to the unmanned aerial vehicles of today, air power has long been regarded as an invaluable instrument of war. However, nations have employed aircraft for many other purposes as well; they provide security and surveillance, and they are vital to myriad diplomatic and humanitarian efforts. Air power has become a means for statesmen to advance a variety of goals, opening up new possibilities and problems in times of peace as well as war.

The Influence of Air Power upon History examines the many ways in which aviation technology has impacted policymaking since 1903. It analyzes air strategy in nations around the world and explores how a country’s presumed technological capability, or lack thereof, has become a crucial aspect of diplomacy. Together, the essays in this insightful volume offer a greater understanding of the history of military force and diplomatic relations in the global community.

Robin Higham , professor of history emeritus at Kansas State University, Manhattan, is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including The Military History of the Soviet Union and Why Air Forces Fail: The Anatomy of Defeat.

Mark Parillo , professor of history at Kansas State University, is the author of We Were in the Big One: Experiences of the World War II Generation.


“The editors have assembled a distinguished group of historians to analyze how states have used air power and air forces to purse larger diplomatic, social, and economic objectives.”

—Colonel Anthony Christopher Cain, USAF (Ret.)

“The editors have assembled a distinguished group of historians to analyze how states have used air power and air forces to purse larger diplomatic, social, and economic objectives.”

—Colonel Anthony Christopher Cain, USAF (Ret.)

“Whether as a dream or a nightmare, for good or ill, airpower has been the great seducer. This book is a history of that seduction. The contributors, all experts in their fields, give the volume international relevance. ”

—Stephen J. Harris, editor of Why Air Forces Fail: The Anatomy of Defeat

“This outstanding collection of essays delves into the complex nature of airpower in its first century and illustrates its profound impact on national growth and strategy. Highly recommended.”

—John B. Lundstrom, author of Black Shoe Carrier Admiral

“A significant contribution to the fields of aviation history, military history, and defense policy. Editors Higham and Parillo have done a great service by assembling highly qualified and well respected authors to write nine excellent chapters that are informative, stimulating, and provocative. This outstanding collections of essays raises aviation history from its concentration on operations, hardware, and heroes, to a much higher level. The result is a volume of materials well above what has thus far appeared, a collection long in chronology, wide in geography, and broad in topic showing the breath, flexibility, and importance of air power. This is essential reading for student and scholar and also will be of interest to buffs.”

—Kenneth P. Werrell, author of Death from the Heavens: A History of Strategic Bombing

The Influence of Airpower upon History is an important book for scholars of aviation history, as it illuminates military aviation from new perspectives, and closely examines the political and operational aspects of their activity.”

Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

“Eleven essayists explor how major world powers have sought air power as 'a reliable instrument of national power,' from military, commercial, and civil aviation perspectives.”

—William D. Bushnell, Military Officer

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