A Question of Loyalty Author:Douglas C. Waller A Question of Loyalty plunges into the seven-week Washington trial of Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell, the hero of the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I and the man who proved in 1921 that planes could sink a battleship. In 1925 Mitchell was frustrated by the slow pace of aviation development, and he sparked a political firestorm, ac... more »cusing the army and navy high commands -- and by inference the president -- of treason and criminal negligence in the way they conducted national defense. He was put on trial for insubordination in a spectacular court-martial that became a national obsession during the Roaring Twenties. Uncovering a trove of new letters, diaries, and confidential documents, Douglas Waller captures the drama of the trial and builds a rich and revealing biography of Mitchell.« less
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This is an excellent and objective study of Billy Mitchell's life. While the author portrays Mitchell as a visionary, he also displays his warts. There is no denying the fact Mitchell had a huge ego. My feelings about Mitchell changed significantly as I read the book.
The author takes turns covering the events leading up to the Mitchell trial, with intervening chapters serving as 'flashbacks' to Mitchell's early life. The author does this so well the reader doesn't, or at least I didn't, have any problems following the story.
There is even an amusing listing of the expenses the Army incurred to conduct the trial. For example, the Army had to pay each witness a fee of $1.50 per day. And the generals on the court martial board complained about having to spend $12 a day in living expenses, if they were from out-of-town. Ha... today generals spend a lot more, and we, the taxpayers, pick up their tabs.