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The Complete History of U.S. Cruise Missiles

The Complete History of U.S. Cruise Missiles Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review October 2018 Title The Complete History of U.S. Cruise Missiles
Author Bill Yenne Publisher Specialty Press
Published 2018 ISBN 9781580072564
Format 204 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $34.95


Bill Yenne surveys the century-long saga of unmanned American military aircraft in The Complete History of U.S. Cruise Missiles from Specialty Press.

Subtitled "From Kettering's 1920s' [sic: 1920's] Bug & 1950's Snark to Today's Tomahawk", text traverses the total tale – from WWI aerial torpedoes and WWII assault drones through 1950s and 1960s jet-propelled designs to today's satellite-guided cruise missiles.

Ground-launched. Vehicle-launched. Ship-launched. Air-launched.

Sperry Flying Bomb. Loon. Navaho. Hound Dog. Tomahawk. And at least 20 more – some as fresh as today's headlines and proposals.

Guidance systems naturally proved critical to cruise missile accuracy. And coverage recaps these, too. Mechanical-gyroscopic. Radio. Television. Satellite. Yenne notes them all.

Hundreds of color and B&W photos, drawings, and action illustrations – many from official government and corporate sources – tincture text. And extended captions augment all.

But the plural of "Waffe" ("weapon") is "Waffen". And German "vengeance" weapons might have "inspired" post-WWII American designs. But I doubt that, by the 1950s, US programs like Navaho were "entirely derived from" Nazi technologies.

Quibbles aside, if you're seeking a convenient compendium on US unmanned aerial weapons, grab this handy, 12-chapter handbook.


With thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy.