Aerospace Power Reading List

An Aerospace Power Reading List For National Security Professionals

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Sir Richard Steele (1672 – 1729)

To ensure our Nation’s military and political leadership understand the merits and capabilities of air and space power, military professionals need to understand them well enough to convincingly explain the virtues and value of operations in air and space.  

Today it seems to be fashionable to include books on military reading lists from the commercial space on business and profitable oriented endeavors and attributes. While some are certainly interesting and may have some elements applicable to the profession of arms, this list is designed to provide military professionals with insights regarding the design, development, doctrine, history and experiences of those involved with the advancement and application of aerospace power in providing options to meet national security challenges.

Expanding your experience base in these areas begins by sharing the experiences of others through reading. This list will provide you a solid basis of airpower and spacepower theory as well as actual experience in exploiting aerospace tools, techniques, and strategies based on aerospace power as a key force. Equipped with this knowledge you will be better prepared to meet the challenges of securing the most capable defense strategy and air and space forces for our Nation.   

Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.)

Dean, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies 

March 2021

Overviews and Broad Insights of Aerospace Power History and Theory:

  1. Mitchell, William. Winged Defense: The Development and Possibilities of Modern Air Power––Military and Economic. The University of Alabama Press. 1925.
  1. Boyne, Walter J. Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the U.S. Air Force. St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
  1. Olsen, John A. ed. A History of Air Warfare. Potomac Books Inc. 2010. 
  1. Kainikara, Sanu. The Art of Air PowerAir Power Development Centre, Royal Australian Air Force. 2009. 
  1. Builder, Carl H. The Icarus Syndrome. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1993.
  1. Olsen, John A. ed. Routledge Handbook of Air Power. Routledge. 2018. 
  1. Futrell, Robert F. Ideas, Concepts, and Doctrine: A History of Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force, 1907-1964.  Maxwell AFB:  Air University, 1974.
  1. Craven, Wesley F. and Cate, James L. The Army Air Forces in World War II (7 Volume Set). Office of Air Force History. 1948-1958.
  1. Watts, Barry D. The Foundations of US Air Doctrine: The Problem of Friction in War, Government Printing Office. 1984.
  1. Holley, I.B. Ideas and Weapons. Washington:  Office of Air Force History, 1983.
  1. Futrell, Robert Frank. Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force. Diane Publishing. 1989.
  1. United States Air Force. The Air Force and U.S. National Security: Global Reach–Global Power. HQ USAF. 1990, 1992, 2013 (Global Vigilance, Global Reach, Global Power for America).
  1. Meilinger, Phillip S. 10 Propositions Regarding Air Power. School of Advanced Airpower Studies, 1995.
  1. Meilinger, Phillip S. ed., The Path of Heaven: The Evolution of Airpower TheoryAir University Press, 1997.
  1. Lambeth, Benjamin S. The Transformation of American Air PowerCornell University Press. 2000.
  1. Gray, Colin S. Airpower for Strategic EffectAir University Press. 2012.
  1. Peebles, Curtis. High Frontier: The U.S. Air Force and the Military Space Program. Air Force History and Museums Program. 1997.
  1. Spires, David N. Beyond Horizons: A Half Century of Air Force Space Leadership. Air University Press. 1998.
  1. Olsen, John A. ed. Global Air Power. Potomac Books Inc. 2011. 
  1. Richard I. Wolf. The United States Air Force: Basic Documents on Roles and Missions. Office of Air Force History, 1987
  1. Warren A. Trest. Air Force Roles and Missions: A History. Air Force History and Museums Program. 1998.
  1. United States Air Force. Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) Volumes 1, 2, 3, and Annexes. LeMay Center for Doctrine.

The People Involved in the Development and Application of Aerospace Power:

  1. McCullough, David. The Wright BrothersSimon & Schuster. 2015
  1. Frisbee, John L. Makers of the United States Air Force. Air Force History and Museums Program, USGPO, 1996. 
  1. Olsen, John A. ed. Air Commanders. Potomac Books, 2013. 
  1. Mitchell, William L. Our Air Force: The Keystone of National Defense.  New York:  Dutton, 1921.  
  1. Douhet, Guilio. Command of the Air.  Washington:  Office of Air Force History, 1921.
  1. de Seversky, Alexander. Victory through Air Power.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 1942.
  1. Saint Exupery, Antoine. Flight to Arras. Martino Publishing. 1942
  1. Tedder, Arthur William. Air Power in War.  London:  Hodder and Stoughton, 1948.
  1. Lindbergh, Charles A. Of Flight and LifeCharles Scribner’s Sons. 1948.
  1. Copp, Dewitt S. A Few Great Captains: The Men and Events That Shaped the Development of U.S. Air Power. Doubleday. 1980.
  1. Hansell, Heywood S., Jr. Strategic Air War Against Germany and Japan: A Memoir. Government Printing Office, 1986. 
  1. Gaston, James C. Planning the American Air War–An Inside Narrative: Four Men and Nine Days in 1941.National Defense University Press. 1982.
  1. Anderson, Bud C. To Fly And Fight: Memoirs of a Triple Ace. St. Martins Press. 1990.
  1. Doolittle, James. I Could Never Be So Lucky Again: An Autobiography of General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle. Bantam Books. 1991.
  1. Sheehan, Neil. A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate WeaponVintage Books. 2009.
  1. Albertson, Trevor. Winning Armageddon: Curtis LeMay and Strategic Air Command 1948–1957Naval Institute Press. 2019.
  1. Risner, Robinson. The Passing of the Night: My Seven Years as a Prisoner of the North Vietnamese. Ballantine Books, 1989
  1. Hammond, Grant, The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security. Smithsonian Books, 2004.
  1. Rich, Ben and Janos, Leo. Skunk WorksLittle, Brown and Company. 1994.
  1. Reynolds, Richard T. Heart of The Storm: The Genesis of the Air Campaign against Iraq. Air University Press. 1995.
  1. Kohn, Richard H. The Early Retirement of Gen Ronald R. Fogleman, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force. Aerospace Power Journal. Air University Press. 2001.
  1. Olsen, John A. John Warden and the Renaissance of American Air Power. Potomac Books, 2007. 
  1. McPeak, Tony. The Aerial View Trilogy (1. Hangar Flying; 2. Below the Zone; 3. Roles and Missions). Lost Wingman Press. 2012-2017.

Air and Space Power Employment:

  1. Kennett, Lee. The First Air War: 1914-1918Simon & Schuster. 1991.
  1. Hallion, Richard P. Strike from the Sky: The History of Battlefield Attack.  1911-1945.  Smithsonian. 1989.
  1. Hansell, Haywood S., Jr. The Air Plan That Defeated Hitler. Higgins-McArthur/Longino and Porter. 1972.
  1. Overy, Richard, The Air War: 1939-1945. Europa Publications, 1980
  1. Copp, Dewitt S. Forged in Fire: Strategy and Decisions in the Air War Over Europe, 1940-45Doubleday. 1982.
  1. O’Brien, Phillips, P. How the War Was Won: Air-Sea Power and Allied Victory in World War II. Cambridge University Press. 2015.
  1. Broughton, Jack, Thud Ridge. J. B. Lippincott Co. 1969.
  1. Tilford, Earl H. Setup: What the Air Force Did in Vietnam and WhyAir Force History and Museums Program, USGPO, 1991. 
  1. Michel III, Marshall L. The Eleven Days of Christmas: America’s Last Vietnam Battle. Encounter Books. 2002.
  1. Anderegg, C. R. Sierra Hotel: Flying Air Force Fighters in the Decade After Vietnam. Air Force History and Museums Program, USGPO, 2001. 
  1. Momyer, William W. Airpower in Three Wars. Air University Press. 2003.
  1. Cardwell III, Thomas A. Command Structure for Theater Warfare: The Quest for Unity of Command. Air University Press. 1984.
  1. Kometer, Michael W. Command in Air War: Centralized vs. Decentralized Control of Combat Airpower. Air University Press. 2007.
  1. Warden III, John A. The Air Campaign. Pergamon-Brassey’s, 1989.
  1. Putney, Diane. Airpower Advantage: Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign: 1989-1991. Air Force History and Museums Program, USGPO, 1994.
  1. Mann III, Edward C. Thunder and Lightning: Desert Storm and the Airpower Debates. Air University Press. 1995.
  1. Winnefeld, James A; Niblack, Preston; Johnson, Dana J. A League of Airmen: U.S. Air Power in the Gulf War. RAND Corp. 1994.
  1. Olsen, John Andreas, Strategic Air Power in Desert Storm, Routledge, 2003
  1. Mason, Tony, Air Power: A Centennial Appraisal. Brassey’s, 1994.
  1. Owen, Robert C., ed. Deliberate Force: A Case Study in Effective Air Campaigning. Air University Press, 2000.
  1. Lambeth, Benjamin S. NATO’s Air War for Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational AssessmentRAND Corp. 2001.
  1. Deptula, David A. Effects-Based Operations: Change in the Nature of Warfare. Aerospace Education Foundation. 2000.
  1. Lambeth, Benjamin S. Air Power Against Terror: America’s Conduct of Operation Enduring FreedomRAND Corp. 2005.
  1. Lambeth, Benjamin S. The Unseen War: Allied Air Power and the Takedown of Saddam Hussein. Naval Institute Press, 2013. 
  1. Lambeth, Benjamin S. Airpower in the War against ISIS. Naval Institute Press. 2021.
  1. Johnson, David E. Learning Large Lessons: The Evolving Roles of Ground Power and Air Power in the Post-Cold War Era. RAND Corp. 2006.
  1. Higham and Harris, ed. Why Air Forces Fail: The Anatomy of Defeat. The University Press of Kentucky. 2006
  1. Libicke, Martin C. Cyberspace in Peace and WarNaval Institute Press. 2013.
  1. Whittle, Richard. Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone RevolutionHenry Holt and Company. 2014
  1. Singer P. W. and Friedman, AlanCybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to KnowOxford University Press. 2014.
  1. Olsen, John A. ed. Airpower Applied: U.S., NATO, and Israeli Combat Experience. Naval Institute Press, 2017. 
  1. Moltz, James Clay. Crowded Orbits: Conflict and Cooperation in Space. Columbia University Press. 2014.
  1. Meilinger, Phillip S. Limiting Risk in America’s Wars: Airpower, Asymmetrics, and a New Strategic Paradigm. Naval Institute Press, 2017. 
  1. Braken, Paul. The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power PoliticsTimes Books. 2012. 
  1. Fino, Steven A., Tiger Check: Automating the U.S. Air Force Fighter Pilot in Air Combat, 1950-1980. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2017.
  1. Wright, John C. Deep Space Warfare: Military Strategy Beyond Orbit. McFarland & Company, Inc., 2020
  1. Murray, Williamson. America and the Future of War: The Past as Prologue. Hoover Institution Press, 2017.
  1. Lowther, Adam B., Editor, Guide to Nuclear Deterrence in the Age of Great Power Competition. Louisiana Tech Research Institute, 2020.
  1. McNamara, Stephen J. Air Power’s Gordian Knot: Centralized Versus Organic Control. Air University Press, 1994

The Mitchell Institute Press

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, in partnership with the University Press of Kentucky, present the Mitchell Institute Press series of aviation and air power books. This series serves as a go-to reference for everything airpower, covering all aspects of military aviation and airpower history. The series editor, Brian Laslie, is deputy command historian at North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, as well as an adjunct professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Citadel. The goal, in line with the core mission of the Mitchell Institute, is to provide access to the crucial writings and analysis that should form the bedrock of an airpower-focused education.

Jackson, Daniel. Fallen Tigers: The Fate of America’s Missing Airmen in China During World War II. The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. 

Paget, Steven. Allies in Air Power: A History of Multinational Air Operations. The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. 

Wakelam, Randall; Varey, David; Sica, Emanuele. Educating Air Forces: Global Perspectives on Airpower Learning. The University Press of Kentucky, 2020. 

Haun, Phil. Lectures of the Air Corps Tactical School and American Strategic Bombing in World War II. The University of Kentucky Press, 2019.

Johnson, Wray R. Biplanes at War: US Marine Corps Aviation in the Small Wars Era, 1915-1934. The University of Kentucky Press, 2019.