The cover of The Bomber Mafia

The Bomber Mafia

A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War

by Malcolm Gladwell

I listened to this one, rather than read a physical or e-book, and I think it did a lot of great things for the material. So this review is a bit of a meditation on the potential of e-books, rather than a proper review. If you’re curious, I thought the book was just ok.

Throughout the book, Gladwell (or Gladwell’s editor, more likely) inserts clips of interview material and newsreels. It has the effect of creating a multi-hour podcast, rather than a typical audio book: something more akin to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, one of my favorite podcasts of all time for its length and depth.

Sounds of flying bombers buzz in the background of Gladwell’s narration, adding some helpful tension to accounts of raids in Europe and the Pacific theater.

Towards the end, a low-quality recording plays of an evening Gladwell spent with military leaders on the site of the army’s Strategic Air Command. Gladwell’s comments on the evening, along with the other men’s own words, does a great job of conveying the spirit of the debate on precision bombing.

Overall, I was happy to spend a few hours with the audio version, and I’m excited to explore more high-production audio books.