“What an exciting, inspiring, and wonderfully-written book this is....Each page has lessons for today, and it is also a thrilling narrative to read.”—Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Steve Jobs
The masterfully told story of the unlikely men who came together to make the Berlin Airlift one of the great military and humanitarian successes of American history.
On the sixtieth anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, Andrei Cherny tells a remarkable story with profound implications for the world today. In the tradition of the best narrative storytellers, he brings together newly unclassified documents, unpublished letters and diaries, and fresh primary interviews to tell the story of the ill-assorted group of castoffs and second-stringers who not only saved millions of desperate people from a dire threat but changed how the world viewed the United States, and set in motion the chain of events that would ultimately lead to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and to America’s victory in the Cold War.
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; Bill Tunner, a logistics expert downsized to a desk job in a corner of the Pentagon; James Forrestal, a secretary of defense beginning to mentally unravel; Hal Halvorsen, a lovesick pilot who had served far from the conflict, flying transport missions in the backwater 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 masterful and exciting work of historical narrative, and one with strong resonance for our time.
About the Author
Andrei Cherny is best known as a coeditor of Democracy. Cherny spent many years as a White House speech writer before holding his post at Democracy. A fellow at Harvard’s Kenny School, Cherny has had a long career writing about global history, politics, and culture forthe New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Cherny is the author of The Next Deal.
“What an exciting, inspiring, and wonderfully-written book this is! The dramatic tale of America’s response to the Berlin blockade involves a colorful cast of characters, great and flawed, who defined the way a great nation could act as a benevolent world power. Each page has lessons for today, and it is also a thrilling narrative to read. Cherny has produced a book that lives up to this glorious American moment in history.”—Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci
“Andrei Cherny’s The Candy Bombers is a gripping, suspenseful narrative history about the U.S. Cold War era pilots determined to help the freedom-strangled citizens of West Berlin survive Soviet tyranny. Written with incredible verve and vivid detail, Cherny succeeds in making those harrowing days of Berlin circa 1948-49 come alive. As a historian, he reminds me of Stephen Ambrose at his best.”—Douglas Brinkley, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Wilderness Warrior
“The early Cold War era was as tense as the days after 9/11. Andrei Cherny captures, in vivid detail, the excitement and drama of the U.S. response to the Soviet blockade of Berlin. You will have a hard time not cheering—or feeling moved—when America rescues its former enemy in the name of freedom.”—Evan Thomas, New York Times Bestselling Author of Being Nixon “Absorbing and lucid.”—Publishers Weekly “One of the finest narrative histories that I have read in years.”—Lawrence Kaplan, World Affairs “The definitive telling of the amazing story of the airlift… Andrei Charny tells this story vividly, placing it on the border canvas of the incipient Cold War.”—Michael Barone, U.S. News & World Reports “A fine eye for character and detail.”—Bloomberg News