As the Second World War drew to a close, the United States launched two air attacks that would secure victory and peace, but at a terrible cost. They were the only such attacks on Japan that were not part of the overall battle plan, but they changed the course of human history. One man was involved in both actions, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, the leader of the Doolittle Raid in which sixteen B-25 bombs struck at Tokyo and neighbouring cities, forcing the withdrawal of Japanese troops. The outcome was that the Allies never lost another battle all the way to Japan. When it was deemed necessary to drop the atomic bomb, it was Doolittle who put forward his 12th Air Force comrade Paul Tibbets, the pilot who flew the Enola Gay with its deadly cargo to Hiroshima.
In Two Flights to Victory, historian David Styles presents the fascinating story of these significant air attacks connected by one man, reveals why they were developed apart from the main Allied strategy and how the pilots were selected for their missions. Using extensive research and previously unpublished information, including interviews with veterans of the Doolittle Raid, it is an account of events that transformed combat, as the long-range bomber emerged as the most important strategic strike tool in modern warfare, and changed the political landscape of the twentieth century.