B-29 Superfortress: A Comprehensive Registry of the Planes and Their Missions
Contributor: David Stubblebine
Review Date: 20 Jun 2018
This book does not lend itself to review in the same way as most World War II books because in the best sense, this is a reference book. As far as story goes, B-29 Superfortress has a plot-line about like the phone book (if anybody still remembers what a phone book was). But as a reference book within its own narrow field, this one is Aces.
As the title says, the book is a comprehensive registry of B-29 aircraft and the missions they flew. The book is divided into ten sections:
- The Master List based on aircraft serial numbers
- The Names List based on aircraft names
- Block & Construction Numbers
- Design Specifications
- Superfortress Variants
- XX Bomber Command (Mission Lists, Details, & Losses)
- XXI Bomber Command (Mission Lists, Details, & Losses)
- Strategic Air Command (post-WWII)
- Korea (post-WWII)
- B-29s in the RAF (also post-WWII)
The Master List has much the same type of information as what Dave Osborne's very authoritative "B-17 Fortress Master Log" has for B-17s, although the two are arranged quite differently. Then with his other nine sections, most notably the Names section and the Mission lists, Robert Mann takes B-29s far beyond the reach of the B-17 Master Log.
In amongst all of the other B-29 missions, the book catalogs the firebombing raids against Japanese cities and the two atomic bombing raids against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The book has no discussion of the morality of these missions, however, for that would go beyond the scope of the book. The book simply marks that these missions happened, dispassionately and without judgment, just as the phone book might list Funeral Homes right after Fun and Games.
For me, personally, I bought this book because I wanted a reference book just like this one that was on this book's topic and I got exactly what I was hoping for. I am one for seeking out the cold, hard facts of the matter and when it comes to the facts about the B-29 Superfortress, this is the book for me.
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945