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The Candy Bombers – The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour

By: Andrei Cherny (432.1/35958)
Publisher: Putnam, ISBN: 9780399154966

On the sixtieth anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, Andrei Cherny tells a remarkable story with profound implications for out time. Brining together newly unclassified documents, unpublished letters and diaries, and fresh primary interviews, he tells the story of the ill-assorted group of castoffs and second-stringers who not only saved millions of desperate people from dire threat but also changed how the world viewed the United States – setting in motion the chain of events that would ultimately lead to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and America’s victory in the Cold War.

Three years after the end of World War II, on June 24, 1948, intent on furthering its domination of Europe, the Soviet Union cut off all access to West Berlin, prepared to starve the city into submission unless the Americans abandoned it. Soviet forces hugely outnumbered the Allies’, and most of America’s top officials considered the situation hopeless. But not all of them.

Harry Truman, an accidental president, derided by his own party; Lucius Clay, a frustrated general, denied a combat command and relegated to the home front during the war; Bill Tunner, a logistics expert downsized to a desk job in a corner of the Pentagon; James Forestal, a secretary of defence beginning to mentally unravel; Hal Halvorsen, a lovesick pilot who had served far from the conflict, flying transport missions in the backwaters of a global war – together these unlikely men improvised and stumbled their way into a uniquely American combination of military and moral force unprecedented in its time.

This is the forgotten foundation tale of America in the modern world, the story of when Americans learned, for the first time, how to act at the summit of world power – a powerful and exciting work of historical narrative and one with strong resonance for the world today.

October 2008


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