Saturday, July 25, 2009

OHP - 07-25-09 - Eric Hammel - The Road to Big Week

Eric Hammel makes his first appearance on Our History Project. Folks, Eric has over 30 titles to his credit and he writes about it all. A true student of history, Eric has written about World War 2, Korea and Vietnam. Eric is a wealth of knowledge as he has interview literally hundreds of people who were there to learn and write about those experiences.

Eric is also a fun loving guy and if you know us, that is what we enjoy the most History and Fun. This week among other things we will talk to Eric about his upcoming book “Road to Big Week” The Struggle for Daylight Air Supremacy over Western Europe. See more about this book from Eric’s website .

Lenght: 57 Minutes

Size: 19.5 MB

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Monday, July 13, 2009

How America Saved the World: The Untold Story of U.S. Preparedness Between the World Wars by Eric Hammel

For a complete list on the books availible by the author you can visit

The Review:

How is it that within months of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that the United States was capable of projecting powerful naval, amphibious, and aerial campaigns to counter German and Japanese aggression? In "How America Saved the World", by Eric Hammel, asserts that it was the culmination of years of planning that had begun in the late part of the 1930s. This book is an incredible look at how America prepared for war though acts of Congress; industrial preparation; and organizational changes throughout the military.

In very simplistic terms, a national security strategy lays out a nation's objectives to accomplish in its global role. One of those pieces of the national security strategy is the role of the military in achieving those objectives. The defense budget will then allow the military to recruit service-members, procure weapons, and operate bases to achieve those objectives. Hammel masterfully lays out the strategic environment of the time, documenting both the Japanese and German aspirations at the time. These aspirations led to aggressive acts against American allies. Hammel identifies these key events and analyzes how they in turn forced the American national strategy to evolve from one of "isolationism" to active defense to active offense.

Along with the political evolutions, Hammel masterfully integrates applicable military revolutions that were occurring in strategy, doctrine, doctrine, and equipment (e.g. DOTMPFL for the layman) for each of the services. In the era of declining defense budgets, it was interesting to read how each of the services responded to the challenges.

As a nation prepares for war, the industrial base must be ready to manufacture the machines, weapons, munitions, and support equipment to fight. Hammel identifies the key players and events that helped the American industrial base have the necessary materiel in place to fight the war in 1942.

The other key element to national strategy is diplomacy. Hammel analyzes events such as those that led to legislative actions such as the evocation, modification, and rescission of the "Neutrality Acts"; and passage of the "Lend/Lease Act". On the diplomatic front, he also reviews lesser known actions involving the defense of Iceland and Greenland. Hammel also discusses the destroyer for basing deal between Britain and the United States.

From an Air Force perspective, the book is an excellent complement to Richard Overy's "The Air War: 1939-1945 (Potomac Books' Cornerstones of Military History series)". This is an outstanding book that analyzes the national actions that today would be called a national security strategy. It is outstanding, in that it is written in a conversational style making it a relatively easy read for such heavy topics.

Reviewed by: Major Joel Rudy, USAF

Joel Rudy is an active duty Air Force major who has served more than sixteen years in various assignments.

He has served as an instructor; a flight commander; at staff assignments at HQ US European Command, and the Air Staff; and as the director of operations for a deployed communications squadron.

Joel is currently serving as the acquisition manager for the Air Force's entire communications procurement portfolio.

During his daily commute into Washington, DC, you can find him on a Metrobus with his nose buried in a book.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

OUR HISTORY PROJECT BOOK REVIEW -WOMEN WHO FLY: by Lynn M. Homan and Thomas Rielly, Illustrated by Rosalie M. Sheperd

WOMEN WHO FLY: by Lynn M. Homan and Thomas Rielly, Illustrated by Rosalie M. Sheperd
Pelican Publishing, 103 pages

I need to start this review with a story - Until I was about 35 I never really gave thought to the view of women in our society. It was not until a car buying venture with my wife that it became apparent to me. See, “she” wanted a new vehicle and we went looking. I noticed that all the salesmen would address me and really ignore her. Why? It’s going to her car or van, why talk to me? The second time that happened that day a frankly told the salesman, “I’m not the one you need to talk to.” With that I shrank into the background as much as possible and forced the issue of them dealing with her. She is smart, knew what see was looking for and could ask the questions about features important to her.

Fast forward several years and I now have two daughters, and I tell them; just like all the generations before; you can do anything you put your mind to. I actively seek out inspirations, books and stories so that they will have a grounded background and build on the confidence of those women who came before them.

Now the review – This book is a Juvenile Nonfiction Book and is also part of the Accelerated Reader Program Books. Let me say right now - Do not let this stop you from picking this book up! It is a wonderful, inspiring and historical read. The determination of these early women flyers are a lost treasure of our history. We all grew up knowing Amelia Earhart, right. Who does not know that name.

What about Ruth Law? Harriett Qumiby? Matilda Moisant? Blanch Stuart Scott? Julia Clark? And a whole pack of women that made a difference that I bet you have never heard of. This book is a chronical of them all. Their determination to do what they wanted in a time that women were supposed to be at home, there since of pride in their accomplishments and unknown to some of them the doors that they opened for generations to come. Not in great giant steps but small steps, but fighting every step of the way.

I could literally go on and on, but I will end in saying that this is a must read for any and everybody. The stories and the history of women in early aviation is a grand adventure.

Craig Anderson
Our History Project