Boyd: The fighter pilot who changed the art of war

John Boyd was the greatest fighter pilot in American history. He defeated every pilot who challenged him in less than 40 seconds. But what made Boyd a man for the ages was what happened after he left the cockpit. Boyd made a career of challenging the intractable Pentagon bureaucracy, making enemies and a few devoted disciples who would become known as “The Acolytes.” Boyd transformed the way military aircraft - in particular the F-15 and F-16 - were designed with his revolutionary “Energy-Maneuverability Theory,” fighting the Air Force's entrenched ideas every step of the way. He then dedicated lonely years to a radical theory of conflict that at the time was mostly ignored, but now is acclaimed as the most influential thinking about conflict since Sun-Tzu.


“Now comes Robert Coram with an entertaining biography . . . Coram is particularly good on the bureaucratic battles fought by Boyd’s disciples . . . the book is full of wonderful material about military culture . . . .”

Wilson Quarterly

“BOYD is essential reading . . . Coram has done a great service by introducing Boyd to the American public.”

Raleigh News & Observer

“Robert Coram’s engrossing biography should definitely be on the bedside tables of all our current military leadership.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review

“This book should be required reading for every American citizen.” Washington Post Book World

“Coram presents a fine, balanced portrait of Boyd the man . . . Coram is sympathetic and admiring though never uncritical. He excels at making clear and comprehensible the complex issues . . . . "

New York Times Book Review

“Coram tells the life story of a brilliant, principled, and uncompromising man.”

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“. . . riveting biography . . . ”


“Coram crafts elegant prose with a skilled hand, and his tenacious research leaves no facet of John Boyd’s life unexamined.”

Dothan Eagle

“A fascinating biography . . . Coram’s book is lively, exciting, and entertaining, and often downright hilarious.”

Pax Pulse

“A great read . . .”

Roanoke Times

“. . . meticulously researched book . . .”

San Antonio Express-News

“As Boyd’s biographer, Coram is masterful.”

Military Officer

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