Allvin’s Newest Must-Read Book Inspired TV’s ‘Masters of the Air’

Apple TV+’s “Masters of the Air,” which tells the story of the 100th Bomb Group during World War II, has won strong critical reviews and piled up huge streaming numbers. But it’s not enough to just watch the serices. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin wants Airmen to read the book. 

First published in 2006 and authored by Donald L. Miller, “Masters of the Air” is among four new additions to the Air Chief’s “Leadership Library,” which includes books, films, podcasts, and other media. The new additions, Allvin’s second update since being promoted to CSAF late last year, include two books, a research report, and a podcast, and add to a library that he says “weaves together leadership, draws parallels between historical and contemporary contexts, and explores advanced technologies that are revolutionizing military affairs,” Allvin wrote in a letter to the force.  

Allvin’s new picks focus on operational effectiveness in lining up against a pacing threat. The selections include: 

“Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany,” by Donald L. Miller 

The TV adaptation of “Masters of the Air” has given the book new life, prompting a new printing and rising interest. The hit TV miniseries began streaming earlier this year on Apple TV+, a paid service costing $9.99 per month (after a weeklong free trial). The book is available in paperback for under $20, but older hardcover copies can cost upwards of $140. Airmen can borrow copies from the DOD Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Libraries. 

In the book, World War II historian Miller, who wrote an earlier book about the Eighth Air Force, focuses on the Airmen of the 100th Bomb Group who flew the B-17 during the daylight bombing campaign over Europe, recounting the day-to-day lives of troops in the “Bloody Hundredth.” 

“Airmen will gain valuable insights into the sacrifices, challenges, and triumphs of their predecessors in this World War II air campaign chronology,” Allvin wrote. “When we speak of empowering Airmen, and delegating to the lowest competent level, we can take heart in knowing that our young American Airmen can take on the tremendous responsibility if the country demands it.” 

“Generations: The Real Differences between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents-and What They Mean for America’s Future,” by Dr. Jean Twenge 

Twenge is a psychology professor specializing in generational differences “Generations,” released in the past year, provides “a data-driven analysis that delves into the impact of technological changes on the unique characteristics of each generation,” Allvin wrote. “By examining the traits of the Silent Generation through the newest generation emerging today, Twenge challenges common perceptions on how and why generations act the way they do. This valuable resource is essential for Airmen leading across multiple generations, providing insights that can shape leadership and communication styles.” 

Former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass frequently noted the number of generations serving together in uniform and urged leaders to do a better job of understanding what motivates the youngest Airmen from Gen Z. 

“Chinese Lessons from the Pacific War: Implications for PLA Warfighting,” by Toshi Yoshihara 

This 112-page report, written by a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, “explores the explicit connections between historical campaigns and modern military affairs,” Allvin wrote. It does that by examining how the fight across the Pacific theater in World War II shapes China’s People’s Liberation Army to this day. 

“China’s Approach to AI,” ChinaPower Podcast, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Senior analysts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies spend more than 40 minutes discussing artificial intelligence and China in this podcast, which Allvin said “offers insightful analysis as it delves into the strategies influencing adversarial behavior and underscores the geopolitical implications of AI advancement.”  

Compared to the time commitment needed to consume the other three new additions, this one is the lightest lift at just over 42 minutes. That’s short enough to listen during the daily commute or a midday run. In contrast, the audio version of “Masters of the Air” runs more than 24 hours.