Title:                      Command Decision

Author:                 William Wister Haines

Haines, William Wister (1947). Command Decision. Boston, Little, Brown

LCCN:    47030044

PZ3.H1277 Co


  • “First edition.”

Date Posted:      May 5, 2015


This is an exciting book. I hope it won’t fall before the hurdle of public reluctance to read war books, for it is a war book. That must be faced. But it is more than that—it is a book about man’s passions and angers and ambitions and fears; a book about big decisions under fire of public opinion and political pressure; it is a book that will cause discomfort among the big brass in high places, but will hearten the public that wonders whether man who make the split second decisions can stand up against the top rank pressure, vacillation and uncertainties. Haines writes well; Slim and High Tension were unique among industrial novels. He has a sense of drama, an ability to make his characters three dimensional, whether he is writing of Brigadier General Dennis, commander of a division of heavy bombers at the time that invasion of Germany meant extension beyond fighter cover, and while daylight precision bombing was still in question; or of General Kane, who ducked responsibility and picked his way gingerly between courageous backing of Dennis and palliative measures before visiting Congressmen; or of Dennis’ office Sergeant, Evans, or McGinnis who doubled for Evans in emergencies. The book will assuredly be discussed; there’s plenty of guessing as to who served as models. And eventually, the Jed Harris’ production of a play based on the novel will give it wider audiences. To the men who served with the Air Force, Haines’ intimate knowledge of his subject will be welcome relief after much of the second hand fictional material handed out.

[1] Kirkus Reviews (downloaded May 5, 2015)

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