World War II--"the good war"--is here viewed from a new angle of vision, one that sheds fresh light on how major decisions were reached.
More than just a book on the strategy and outcome of American bombing in World War II, Wings of Judgment tells about choices in war, decisions that determined whether hundreds of thousands of people lived or died and whether famous cities and great monuments of civilization survived or were destroyed. It is about the bombing of Dresden and Berlin and of dozens of cities and towns all over Germany and about the preservation of Rome and Florence. It is about the incineration of Tokyo, the bombing of Hiroshima, and the sparing of one of Japan's most beautiful and holy places, the city of Kyoto. Describing U.S. air raids that terrified inhabitants of enemy nations and citizens of enemy-occupied countries, it raises serious questions about the military and moral effects of American bombing. It also tells of American efforts to avoid killing civilians needlessly.
Taking us behind the scenes at military headquarters, Schaffer shows that even the toughest warriors occasionally found themselves offering moral arguments for their actions, arguing that they were made right by enemy atrocities, by the justness of the Allied cause, and by the numbers of lives of American servicemen that Allied bombing might save.
"Disturbing, sad, and filled with the vexations of good men doing their best in the midst of the greatest immorality--war."--Kirkus Reviews
"Wings of Judgement is a most important book....Professor Schaffer has rewritten the record in devastating fashion."--Max Hastings, author of Military Anecdotes.
"[An] excellent comprehensive analysis....Sure to become essential reading for anyone who is seriously interested in strategic bombing and morality in warfare. Very highly recommended for all college and public libraries"--CHOICE
"An excellent supplemental book for undergraduates. A lucid discussion of the way war corrodes the ethical standards of decent men and brings them to do indecent things."--Daniel Beaver, University of Cincinnati
"A major addition to the literature of World War II and aviation history."--ALA Booklist
"Schaffer's concise, provocative and thoughtful study of American bombing policy in World War II is a notable addition to the literature on the American way of war. It belongs on every reading list of courses that deal with the issues of war and society in the modern world and is especially suited for courses on the U.S. since 1940."--Richard D. Challener, Princeton University
"The history recounted here has chilling implications for our own time. An important book."--Library Journal
"An outstanding book. Ronald Schaffer has stripped away the veneer of delusions to look critically at American bombing policy in World War II."--Armed Forces and Society
"Thoughtful, imaginative, and perceptive."--Business History Review
"Schaffer's book is a must addition to the historical review of WWII....[He] does an exquisite job of presenting the dilemmas faced by military and civilian leaders....The documentation is exhaustive and a worthy reference unto itself. I feel that this is one of the more treasured books of my WWII collection."--Kliatt