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The Bomber Mafia

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Purchase The Bomber Mafia and receive the exclusive Bomber Mafia Listener's Guide — a visual document of the making of The Bomber Mafia. The Listener's Guide features additional commentary from Malcolm Gladwell, reflections on the production from producers and engineers, and archival photos from the period. The Listener's Guide is only available from Pushkin Industries when you buy The Bomber Mafia.

Malcolm Gladwell’s exploration of how technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war.

In The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War, Malcolm Gladwell, author of New York Times bestsellers including Talking to Strangers and host of the podcast Revisionist History, uses original interviews, archival footage and his trademark insight to weave together the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in central Alabama, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard. As listeners hear these stories unfurl, Gladwell examines one of the greatest moral challenges in modern American history. 

Most military thinkers in the years leading up to World War II saw the airplane as an afterthought. But a small band of idealistic strategists had a different view. This “Bomber Mafia” asked:  What if precision bombing could, just by taking out critical choke points — industrial or transportation hubs – cripple the enemy and make war far less lethal? 

In Revisionist History, Gladwell re-examines moments from the past and asks whether we got it right the first time. Fans of Revisionist History will recognize some of the characters from the last season of the podcast, but The Bomber Mafia expands on these episodes and includes new original interviews, archival footage, and a fresh analysis of one of the most important events in military history. Gladwell steps back from the bombing of Tokyo, the deadliest night of the war, and asks, “Was it worth it?” The attack was the brainchild of General Curtis LeMay, whose brutal pragmatism and scorched-earth tactics in Japan cost thousands of civilian lives but may have spared more by averting a planned US invasion.

Things might have gone differently had LeMay’s predecessor, General Haywood Hansell, remained in charge. As a key member of the Bomber Mafia, Hansell’s theories of precision bombing had been foiled by bad weather and human error. When he and Curtis LeMay squared off for a leadership handover in the jungles of Guam, LeMay emerged victorious, leading to the darkest night of World War II.

Malcolm Gladwell's new audiobook, The Bomber Mafiais a riveting tale of persistence, innovation, and the incalculable wages of war. You'll hear the voices of generals, the sound of aircrafts and bombs crashing. This is history brought to life through the power of audio. 

The Bomber Mafia is also available in print and ebook wherever books are sold. Visit for more information.

FAQs About The Bomber Mafia Audiobook

How different is the audiobook from the episodes that dealt with the Bomber Mafia in the Revisionist History podcast?

The podcasts were just the starting point for this book. The lion's share of The Bomber Mafia is all new.  You will hear some material from the podcast, but in those instances the material has been expanded with more archival footage, new language, and enhanced scoring. If you've heard the episodes of Revisionist History, it will feel like when you've read a book excerpt in the New Yorker or Vanity Fair and then gone on to read the whole thing.

I noticed you made a couple of rookie aviation errors while describing the challenges of piloting the B-29 in the Pacific Theater. What are you going to do about it?

We have corrected the audio in these chapters! “tailwind” is now “headwind” as it should be. Thanks to all the eagle-eared listeners who wrote in.

How will I listen to The Bomber Mafia audiobook?

You can listen in your preferred podcast app. (See below for a complete list of supported apps.)

After you enter your email address, you’ll get a unique link. Tap the link to open your audiobook purchase in your podcast app. A small number of apps may require users to copy their URL and paste it directly into the app.

Wait, I don’t understand—I can use a podcast app to listen to Malcolm Gladwell's new audiobook?

Yup, that’s right! Listen to audiobooks in the same place you spend hours listening to your favorite podcasts. No new apps to download, no subscription fees. You get lower prices, too, because nobody had to build a fancy new app.

Can I use my current podcast app?

Supported apps include: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocketcasts, Podcast Addict, Castbox, BeyondPod, Downcast, PlayerFM, Breaker, and RadioPublic.

Sorry, but these apps are not currently supported: Stitcher, Podbean, or NPR One.

What types of payment do you accept?

You can pay with any major credit cards, as well as Apple Pay on iOS and Google Pay on Android.

How do I access the audiobooks I bought?

You will be emailed a confirmation with the link to the audiobook or you can login with your email address here.

How do I get The Bomber Mafia Listener's Guide?

The Listener's Guide PDF will be delivered via email shortly after your purchase confirmation.

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