The Mind of War
John Boyd and American Security
By Grant Hammond
(Smithsonian Books, Paperback, 9781588341785, 248pp.)
Publication Date: August 17, 2004
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The ideas of US Air Force Colonel John Boyd have transformed American military policy and practice. A first-rate fighter pilot and a self-taught scholar, he wrote the first manual on jet aerial combat; spearheaded the design of both of the Air Force's premier fighters, the F-15 and the F-16; and shaped the tactics that saved lives during the Vietnam War and the strategies that won the Gulf War. Many of America's best-known military and political leaders consulted Boyd on matters of technology, strategy, and theory.
In The Mind of War, Grant T. Hammond offers the first complete portrait of John Boyd, his groundbreaking ideas, and his enduring legacy. Based on extensive interviews with Boyd and those who knew him as well as on a close analysis of Boyd's briefings, this intellectual biography brings the work of an extraordinary thinker to a broader public.
Grant T. Hammond, director of the Center for Strategy and Technology and professor of international relations at the Air War College, is the author of Plowshares into Swords: Arms Races in International Politics, 1840-1991.
“John Boyd was a remarkable patriot whose intense commitment to learning and teaching the lessons of history changed American military doctrine and made Desert Storm possible. This study is an invaluable contribution to a little known part of our military history.”—Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives
“John Boyd was one of the greatest military and strategic thinkers of our time. His story and his brilliance are superbly captured in Grant Hammond’s excellent book. This is a must read for all those who want to understand how to think about war and to learn about a true American hero.”—General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC, former commander of CENTCOM
“One of the most important books on airpower theory, strategy, technology, organization, and history to come out this year is Grant Hammond’s biography of Col. John Boyd, USAF. Appropriately, it is larger than life – Boyd’s life – for the United States Air Force of today reflects the impact of many of Boyd’s ideas.” – Aerospace Power Journal
“This book is exceptionally relevant conceptually to… ‘fighting’ a global ‘war’ on terrorism using military resources… John Boyd’s lifelong dedication helps us learn to successfully observe, assess, decide, and act before, during, and after we have been challenged or surprised.” – Journal of Contemporary Security Policy