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Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (Anglais) Broché – 25 juin 2013

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John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever -- the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than forty seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft -- the F-15 and F-16. Still others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They know only half the story. Boyd, more than any other person, saved fighter aviation from the predations of the Strategic Air Command. His manual of fighter tactics changed the way every air force in the world flies and fights. He discovered a physical theory that forever altered the way fighter planes were designed. Later in life, he developed a theory of military strategy that has been adopted throughout the world and even applied to business models for maximizing efficiency. And in one of the most startling and unknown stories of modern military history, the Air Force fighter pilot taught the U.S. Marine Corps how to fight war on the ground. His ideas led to America's swift and decisive victory in the Gulf War and foretold the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On a personal level, Boyd rarely met a general he couldn't offend. He was loud, abrasive, and profane. A man of daring, ferocious passion and intractable stubbornness, he was that most American of heroes -- a rebel who cared not for his reputation or fortune but for his country. He was a true patriot, a man who made a career of challenging the shortsighted and self-serving Pentagon bureaucracy. America owes Boyd and his disciples -- the six men known as the "Acolytes" -- a great debt. Robert Coram finally brings to light the remarkable story of a man who polarized all who knew him, but who left a legacy that will influence the military -- and all of America -- for decades to come. ..

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Par Un client le 6 novembre 2003
Format: Relié
this biography describes a very bright yet very peculiar mind.
John Boyd was a fighter pilot of exceptional skills but also an indefatigable thinker. Though he did not indulge to write a single book, he seems to have a seminal legacy.
The book is well writen, cope with the dark side of its hero and is full of insight about the US Air Force and the struggle of few good men to improve military budget efficiency.
It is therefore a good read not only for aviation fans (the guy was THE fighter pilot), for people interested in strategy (Boyd is judged as a clausewitz class thinker) but for citizen (of all countries!)interested in public policing.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x8f0542f4) étoiles sur 5 374 commentaires
232 internautes sur 238 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8f0d384c) étoiles sur 5 Brilliant Theory, Ugly Corruption, Sad Personal Decay 15 décembre 2002
Par Robert David STEELE Vivas - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
In forty years of adult reading, thousands of books, hundreds of biographies, I have not in my lifetime found a better integration of subject, sources, and scholarship. This book will make anyone laugh, cry, and think. There is a deep spirit in this book, and knowing a little about all of this, I was quite simply stunned by the labor of love this book represents. The author's skill and devotion to "getting it right" is breathtakingly evident across the book. His sources, both those close to the subject and those more distant, have been exhaustively interviewed and the quality of this book is a direct reflection of some of the most serious "homework" I have ever been privileged to read.
On the theory of war, on the original contributions of John Boyd, the book renders a huge service to all military professionals by dramatically expanding what can be known and understood about the Energy-Maneuverability Theory and the nuances of the OODA Loop (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act--for the real Tigers, Observe-od-Act--a faster loop). Two things stuck out, apart from the heroic manner in which Boyd pursued the intellectual side of combat aviation: first, Boyd consistently had his priorities right: people first, ideas second, hardware last--this is the opposite of the existing Pentagon priorities; and second, truth matters--the book has some extraordinary examples of how both the Air Force and the Army falsified numbers, with disastrous results, while also selecting numbers (e.g. choosing to list an aircraft's weight without fuel or missiles, rather than fully loaded, a distortion that will kill aviators later when the aircraft fails under stress).
On the practical side, the insights into Pentagon (and specifically Air Force) careerism and corruption, as well as contractor corruption and cheating of the government, are detailed and disturbing. There have been other books on this topic, but in the context of Boyd's heroic endeavors as an individual, this book can be regarded as an excellent case study of the pathology of bureaucracy--the Air Force regarding the Navy, for example, as a greater threat to its survival than the Russians. Especially troubling--but clearly truthful and vital to an understanding of why the taxpayer is being cheated by the government bureaucracy, were all the details on the mediocrity and mendacity of Wright-Patterson laboratories and organizations nominally responsible for designing the best possible aircraft. The same thing happens in other bureaucracies (e.g. the Navy architects refusing to endorse the landing craft ideas of Andrew Higgins, who ultimately helped win World War II), but in this instance, the author excels at documenting the horrible--really really horrible--manner in which the Pentagon's obsession with building monstrous systems that increase budgets has in fact resulted in fewer less capable aircraft. The book is a case study in corrupt and ill-considered (mindless) gold-plating and mission betrayal.
As a tiny but extremely interesting sidenote, the book provides helpful insights into the failure of the $2.5 billion "McNamara Line," a whiz-kid lay-down of sensors in Viet-Nam that Boyd finally ended up terminating.
On a personal level, the author treats Boyd's family life, and his neglect of his family, in objective but considerate terms; the author is also quite effective in identifying and addressing those instances in Boyd's professional life when his fighter-pilot embellishments might be construed by lesser mortals to be falsehoods. There are three sets of heroes in this book, apart from the subject: the ranking officers, including a number of generals, who protected Boyd against the corrupt careerists--there *are* good officers at the top; the enlisted and officer personnel that carried on in the face of poor leadership, mediocre aircraft, and daunting external challenges; and finally, the "Acolytes," the six specific individuals (Tom Christie, Pierre Sprey, Ray Leopold, Chuck Spinney, Jim Burton, and Mike Wyly), each of whom endured what they call "the pain" to nurture John Boyd and his ideas. I found the author's dissection and articulation of the personal relationships and sacrifices to be quite good and a most important part of the larger story.
Finally, a few tributes en passant. The author does a great job of showing how Boyd ultimately was adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps rather than the U.S. Air Force, and how his ideas have spawned the 4th Generation and Asymmetric Warfare theories, for which the Pentagon does not yet have an adequate appreciation. The mentions in passing of two of my own personal heroes, Mr. Bill Lind and Col G. I. Wilson of the U.S. Marine Corps, and the due regard to the roles played by Dr. Grant Hammond of the Air War College and Mr. James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly, add grace and completion to the story.
This book is moving--if you care about America, the military, and keeping our children safe into the future, it *will* move you to tears of both laughter and pain.
157 internautes sur 171 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8f0d3a98) étoiles sur 5 The First Outstanding, the Second Half..... 4 janvier 2003
Par H. Lee Dixon - Publié sur
Format: Relié
When I returned from Vietnam in 1969 to Luke AFB, AZ my Commander was Lt Col Doral Connor who had roomed with John Boyd during a tour in Korea, I believe. He told how his roommate would sit in his room working for hours on mathematical calculations involving air-to-air engagements. Col Connor was a tactical weapons controller, as was I, and had a good understanding of what Boyd was trying to accomplish. My next involvement with Boyd's work on Energy Maneuverability (EM) was when I attended the Air National Guard (ANG) Fighter Weapons School (FWS) at Tucson, AZ, and also when Steve Hepburn and I served as the principal radar weapons controllers for the F-15 Operational Test & Evaluation. It was during that period that I was sent TDY to Nellis AFB to become certified as an Aggressor Controller with the 64th. Based upon this background, and after reading Bob Coram's book, "Boyd" I can say the first half of the book is both very accurate and extremely well done. And If I had never gone to Air Force Project Checkmate in 1978 where I worked for 8 years I could give Coram's work nothing but a rave review. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Things are not always what they seem, and this book clearly overlooks several important points when it comes to the Reformists, including Boyd. Anyone going back and reading the material released by the Reformist at the time would see that they were against the whole concept of complex technology. The same technology that permitted striking results during Desert Storm and numerous other lesser engagements. Boyd's single focus on air-to-air overlooked the importance of accuracy during air-to-ground. For example, those hard points on the F-16 and the avionics added weight, which Boyd and the Reformists fought. And if the Reformists would of had their way there still would never have been an F-15E Strike Eagle. And that's not to mention the extensive criticism at the time of the M-1 Abrahms tank. They claimed it would never operate in the desert...which it did with exemplary results. Coram also was led astray on several other points. An example, one of many, is why a TAC General insisted on painting the back of all traffic signs Creech Brown. Did you ever wonder what kind of reflection one gets off of silver aluminum at night when you're trying to tone-down a base's signature? I also take issue with whoever told Coram that Checkmate (it's not Check Mate) quickly devolved into little more than a stage play. I would be interested to know his source of what we did since none of his sources ever served in Checkmate. Especially in light of a substantial body of very original work on the European Central Region as well as Southwest Asia. Exactly where does Coram think those briefings came from, if not extensive analysis. For example, Checkmate was award recognition by the Air Force Association for the idea of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) which was the fore-runner to CENTCOM. Checkmate, under the leadership of Col Joe Redden (later Lt Gen), was also the location of the 31 Joint Initiatives. As close as Coram comes to a Checkmate source is that he lists Barry Watt's, "Foundations of U.S. Air Doctrine", and Barry was the Red Team Chief. Finally it is unforgiveable to not have one word about Moody Suter in the book who was the father of Red Flag and the Warrior Prep Center in Germany and worked closely with a number of these folks. Moody and I occasionally went to the Fort Myer gatherings and to leave out his contributions which were equal, if not more, important to the Air Power in the 1970s & 1980s is unbelievable. Especially since there were similarities between Suter and Boyd. Moody used to say when her retired as an O-6 that it was the zenith of a mediocre career.
76 internautes sur 84 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8f0d3cd8) étoiles sur 5 Excellent - one of the best books I've read this year. 2 septembre 2004
Par Publius - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book surpassed my expectations, I have a few quibbles with it, but nothing to lower it from a fully deserved 5 stars.

John Boyd was apparently an arrogant, stubborn, and brilliant man. I'm not sure I would want to work for him or with him, and I certainly would not want to be one of his children, but America needs more like him.

Boyd struck me as a real life version of The Fountainhead's Howard Roark. I found his example to be inspirational. The explanation of his "To be or to do" speech is worth reading the entire book, and in his life he personified the message of this speech.

Strictly speaking Colonel Boyd wanted "to do" something for America and the Air Force, and chose to make sacrifices, endured much abuse, and repeatedly jeopardized his career with that goal in mind. He purposely chose "to do" something, rather than "to be" somebody, which he defined as one who gives up his integrity to get ahead in the system. This insight is one that applies not only to the military but to any organization. It is the fundamental choice that everyone has to make, and hearing of his successes against the system has encouraged me to follow his example, if only in some small measure.

Everyone in business, the government, or the military should read this book.
65 internautes sur 72 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8f0d7e64) étoiles sur 5 The Conflict Between Theory and Reality 11 novembre 2002
Par Donald Vandergriff - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Robert Corum has done a masterly job in writing and telling a true to life story of what the United States culturally says it admires in people-intelligence, hard work and truth! The story of John Boyd should be read by as many people as possible, beginning with those aspiring to be leaders in both the military and civilian sectors. Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art of War will begin a national renaissance in truth telling and seeking responsibility to stem the tide against our great nation becoming a 4th Century Rome.
In reality, as Corum points out in page after page, the culture does not hold those like Boyd as the epitome of honor and selfless service. Instead, he retired a colonel (despite an incredible contribution to Air Force Fighter aviation and the theories of the art of war) and his family in poverty. But Boyd's greatest achievement of riches came not in the form of tangibles known greedily as money and property, but in the intangibles he achieved, a devoted following-the "Acolytes"-from talented men who are the true defenders of the Constitution; and who in the pursuit of truth, attempt to force the military establishment to provide our servicemen the leaders, doctrine and equipment they need to do their mission. Boyd set the heroic example for others to emulate as they desire to call themselves professionals against the tide of dishonesty; against those who are the worse when they say they speak of truth, yet practice something mendacious in promoting themselves.
In light of the great popularity that the defense establishment now holds in the eyes of a novice and ignorant public, this book is a warning, maybe belatedly late one at that, given the timing of the war with Iraq. Corum's story of Boyd subtly warns that the current defense establishment, tied to the behemoth Industrial-military-congressional complex, is a corrupt institution. It is not corrupt in terms of South American politicians or the Chicago crime family's hold on politicians-the taking of money behind the scenes-but in that it subtly says one thing, yet practices something very different. While its leadership manuals, colorful posters and fancy power point presentations tout words of character, moral courage, autonomy and trust, in reality the military culture punishes those who live by what is written and desired. And in the end, as Corum highlights, it is about money-more money for more advanced weapons systems. The real wars that the Services want talented people for are fought inside the Beltway, not on the battlefield.
Corum presents Boyd's struggles-both with himself and the culture he sought to perfect-in page after page of this wonderful book. Boyd's competitive drive achieved much, as we are now seeing as people write of the exploits of the "Mad Colonel." Boyd was an officer, who despite his luminosity in flying, his winning of top science and engineering awards for his "Energy-Maneuverability Theory," was passed over for general because he did not possess the right social skills-or as Corum put it, "He [Boyd] had not yet acquired subtlety and bureaucratic skills"-but more critical, refused to play the game when it contrasted with what was right. This is a horrible precedent for an organization, particularly a military one, to set for its younger generations of leaders-tell the truth at your own peril-that must constantly give accurate reports in the face of a type of warfare that demands accurate situational reports.
Robert Corum has done our nation a great service in telling the story of not only Colonel John Boyd, but those around him who devoted their lives in doing what is right. Hopefully this book will infect many others who as Boyd did when he said, " day you will take a fork in the road, and you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go that way and you can do something -something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself." Most importantly Boyd would close, "If you decide to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself." "To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?"
As Corum points out, unfortunately, too many have picked the former, and unfortunately for our country, has gave us a military that spends more than the next 21 opponents, "the 21 Power standard," and when it does fight, only wins indecisively.
Donald E. Vandergriff is the editor of Spirit, Blood and Treasure: The American Cost of Battle in the 21st Century, and the author of Path to Victory: America's Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs.
26 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8f0d7fd8) étoiles sur 5 Great Background 24 mai 2005
Par I. McGrath - Publié sur
Format: Broché
First, let me say that this is truly a biography of John Boyd, so don't expect it to reveal absolutely every detail about his E-M or OODA loop theories, not to mention the further refinements that have followed. At the same time, I think that you definitely get an interesting insight into the absolutely profound effect that someone can have by sheer force of personality and determination, even when to an outside observer they may appear to have led an relatively unremarkable life. John Boyd never led armies into battle or devised grand campaigns. But it would be hard to point to a single person more responsible for developing the tactical and strategic theories of war that have brought about America's fin-de-siecle military dominance.

This book will give the casual enthusiast (ok, an oxymoron) a great background in the sorts of transformations that have taken place in American warfighting doctrine. In particular, if you are interested in seeing a sliver (and a quite fascinating one at that) of what happened to transform a wrong-headed Vietnam-era military mindset into the mind-bogglingly dominant fighting force of the late-80s to present, this is a great background read. A good portion of Boyd's time at the Pentagon spanned this tranformative era, and he played no small role in actually making that transformation happen.

I've got to say that this biography really serves to remind us that it still takes individual persons with the intellect, will and determination to *make* change happen in order to make history. No matter how big the institution, revolutionary ideas still come from critical individuals.

Even if you are more interested in the theories, strategies and tactics than in the details of an individual's life, I'd say that this book gives an excellent entree into what happened to the US military during its transformative years, and gives you one story, one limited window, on how it took a generation of officers who came up through all of the mistakes of the past to push for change. Not to mention that it's a great story to boot.
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