Best Book Award, 2013
The Hump: America's Strategy for Keeping China in World War II, by Dr. John D. Plating, Colonel, USAF, and teacher of history at the Air Force Academy, has been selected for the Air Force Historical Foundation's Best Airpower Book Award for the year 2013. The award is given annually after a three-judge panel carefully considers and rates all of the books that were reviewed in the Foundation's journal, Air Power History, during the year. Criteria for selection call for the book to be of high quality, contribute to an understanding of air power, and for the author or authors to have had a connection to the U.S. Air Force or be a member of the Air Force Historical Foundation.
China's part in World War II has long been little known in America, although the maneuverings of Madame Chiang Kaishek and her brother T. V. Soong (Chiang's representative in Washington) received considerable publicity during and after the war. But just why China was a critical ally in the eyes of Franklin Roosevelt is obscure to most people and certainly no longer taught in our schools. John Pla ting's book explores both the importance of China as a counterweight to Japan's army, and the organization of the India-China airlift that supplied both China and the U. S. Air Force's Fourteenth Air Force commanded by Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault. This dangerous and demanding airlift supply route became necessary with the Japanese seizure of the Burma Road, and Chiang Kai-shek's insistent demands for ever-greater amounts of fuel, munitions, and supplies. Along with his demands, Chiang left the implication that without continued support he might be forced to surrender to Japan with the consequent freeing of thousands of Japanese soldiers to be used against the Allies in the Pacific and Asia. This book is valuable for opening discussion into a part of the Air Force's and America's activity in the war that almost has been forgotten.
The judges' voting for the winner was very close, and we had a virtual tie for second place between Jay Stout's Fighter Group and Christopher Rein's North African Air Campaign. Fighter Group examines the flying training, deployment, and combat preparation of one of the most notable Army Air Forces organizations in the European Theater. An exploration into air combat planning and fighting in a nearby area is found in the book on the North African Air Campaign. It is not possible to pick between the two for second place, nor should we...