Gladwell is a marvellous writer. In The Bomber Mafia, he explores how ethics and principles affect our decisions. There is smooth almost conversational assuredness about the way he writes. It is like listening to your smartest most eloquent friend tell you about something interesting he has just discovered.
The Bomber Mafia story is not one I had heard of before. It is a wide-ranging one that covers battlefield ethics, technological innovation, politics, and culture.
One of the key takeaways for me is how people identify and solve problems based on their personalities. We are introduced to some great characters in the Bomber Mafia from the genius inventor of a bombsight to two airmen who have vastly different approaches on how to defeat the enemy.
The other takeaway is that we need to be careful about thinking that technology will save us, that we just need that one key invention to solve our problems. It doesn’t it, and in some ways it never has. What we choose to do with innovations and how we approach the inevitable moral quandaries they pose is something we all have to wrestle with.
As with all Gladwell’s work, he occasionally takes leaps logic of that are not necessarily justified by the facts or goes off in tangents that are perplexing.
On the whole as a history of the American airforces contribution to WW2 and the lasting legacy that has had on all future military engagements The Bomber Mafia is enlightening and engrossing. As a study of what humans do under immense pressure it is thought-provoking.
Buy the book here and they will kick me some money.