Benjamin Thomas's Reviews > Every Man a Tiger: The Gulf War Air Campaign

Every Man a Tiger by Tom Clancy
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's review
Sep 06, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: history, non-fiction

I just finished this book, and, quite frankly, I feel like I have just been through a war. As a US Air Force officer who was just starting out during the time of the Gulf War, I had been looking forward to reading this book for a long time. I had already learned quite a bit about the Gulf War through other sources, but I was looking for a legitimate source of what was actually happening, on the ground and in the air, from a day-to-day perspective, and from somebody who had lived the experience.

This was the right book! The opening chapters introduce us to Gen Chuck Horner in an autobiographical approach. We learn what motivates him as a pilot, as an officer, and as a human being. We gain some insights from his experiences during Vietnam, and ultimately learn how that affected his approach to the Gulf War.

But the bulk of the book is about the Gulf War, and how the coalition forces made their decisions on the best way to approach the battle situation. My favorite partsin this book, were the "day-in-the-life" segments. We get to follow Gen Horner from the moment he wakes up, through briefings, visits to units, phone calls, problem solving, meetings with coalition partners, etc. to the minute he finally, gets to go to bed. We see and appreciate the job he does at the most mundane level, and yet understand how those small things lead to the big picture of war fighting. Gen Horner is generous in spreading the credit for successes and does not hold back in accepting blame when that is appropriate.

The only reason I didn't rate this book 5 stars is the lengthy explanations of air power and strategy. For those who are not familiar with such concepts, this information is vital, and so you should consider my rating to be 5 stars.

Finally, I appreciated Gen Horner's essay's on coalition building and the future of air and space power. I was fortunate enough to be assigned to Space Command for a short time before Gen Horner retired as CINCSPACE and from the US Air Force. And even though I was but a lowly Lieutenant, and never spoke directly with Gen Horner, I can tell you his impact on all of us was profound. As Tom Clancy states at the end of the book, "Gen Chuck Horner was the right man at the right time."

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