No experience etched itself more deeply into Air Force thinking than the air campaigns over North Vietnam. Two decades later in the deserts of Southwest Asia, American airmen were able to avoid the gradualism that cost so many lives and planes in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Readers should come away from this book with a sympathetic understanding of the men who bombed North Vietnam. Those airmen handled tough problems in ways that ultimately reshaped the Air Force into the effective instrument on display in the Gulf War. Dr. Thompson began to learn about his subject when he was an Army draftee assigned to an Air Force intelligence station in Taiwan during the Vietnam War. He took time out from writing To Hanoi and Back to serve in the Checkmate group that helped plan the Operation Desert Storm air campaign against Iraq. Later he visited Air Force pilots and commanders in Italy immediately after the Operation Deliberate Force air strikes in Bosnia. During Operation Allied Force over Serbia and its Kosovo province, he returned to Checkmate. Consequently, he is keenly aware of how much the Air Force has changed in some respects---how little in others. Although he pays ample attention to context, his book is about the Air Force. He has written a well-informed account that is both lively and thoughtful.