Review by Dr. John Psarouthakis,
Executive Editor, www.BusinessThinker.com
George A. Haloulakos — CFA Charterholder, Finance Professor and Author — has written a new and distinctly different book titled CALL TO GLORY – How the Convair B-58 Hustler Helped Win the Cold War. Business Thinker readers may already be familiar with some of his published work that has been featured in this web site as well as his last book HIGH FLIGHT – Aviation as a Teaching Tool for Finance, Strategy and American Exceptionalism.
CALL TO GLORY is an economic and strategic analysis of the B-58 Hustler that reads like a time capsule out of the 1960s. This historic reappraisal of the B-58 enables the reader to view the “soaring sixties” as a decade in which the USA deployed the Hustler as an exclusive nuclear strike weapon to be used in a “massive retaliation” strategy that characterized Strategic Air Command’s posture during that era of the Cold War. George deconstructs this strategy through a Game Theory narrative [using Chess as the explanatory vehicle] that unifies both the qualitative and quantitative content of CALL TO GLORY. George writes that “Deterrence was based on the display of decisive, overwhelming force coupled with the willingness to use it.” Along this line of thought, CALL TO GLORY includes an insightful, behind-the-scenes look at the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis that includes a detailed breakdown of the nuclear arsenals for both the USA and USSR while quantifying how the B-58 Hustler was the ultimate difference maker that resulted in a “draw” rather than all-out war.
CALL TO GLORY is largely based on exclusive first-hand accounts from pilots, navigators and defense systems operators who flew the B-58. George not only weaves their accounts into a historic, strategic and economic analysis but also features a separate chapter titled “Voices of the Cold War Warriors” in which people associated with the design, development, operation and maintenance of the Hustler answer frequently asked questions associated with the aircraft! There is definitely a feeling that you, the reader, are back in time, as the 1960s is recalled as an exciting era of manned space flight along with high-tech military assets that included not only the B-58 Hustler, but also the North American XB-70 Valkyrie and the Douglas Skybolt Missile.
In the spirit of reflecting the highs and lows of the decade, CALL TO GLORY comes full circle as the narrative recounts that by 1970 the USA shifted from offense to defense in its national security posture that not only resulted in curtailment, cancellation or retirement of all the aforementioned military assets but cessation of manned interplanetary spaceflight and cessation of public funding for commercial supersonic air travel. Since the service life of the B-58 exactly spanned the 1960-1970 period it serves as an informative and educational explanatory vehicle for the major shifts in public policy and their economic and strategic consequences.
George uses basic algebra and statistics to explain why military weapons such as the B-58 are best understood by examining their contribution to the total portfolio of military assets in terms of reducing overall risk while maximizing the success rate and increasing the number of ordered combinations in delivering nuclear ordnance. Evaluation of military assets on a stand-alone basis solely through accounting data while giving little or no consideration as to how an adversary may respond is shown to be inherently dangerous from a national security perspective. George offers methodology and context for converting accounting data into an economic template that gives full consideration to opportunity costs as well as behaviorist issues. An example of how he provides context is his analysis about accident rates associated with supersonic military aircraft by noting that while the B-58 had an accident rate of 22.4%, this was far less than 47.1% rate of the supersonic North American F-100 and the 37.5% accident rate for the Mach 3+ Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird – all deployed in the same era.
CALL TO GLORY is a work of clarity, concision and subtlety. In the span of approximately 140 pages George is able to address a myriad of complex issues while maintaining sharp tempo and cleverly focusing the reader’s attention on the aircraft itself, the events of the day and shifts in public policy. His subtlety is shown by accomplishing all of this, and more, yet keeping the names of various public figures and their larger than life personalities at a bare minimum throughout his narrative. The inclusion of two special sections – a full-length testimony by a defensive systems operator who was the last person to bail out from a B-58 at high altitude and the “analyst – journalist” interview in which George goes into greater depth on topics covered in the main text as well as related issues – makes CALL TO GLORY a great read for anyone interested in history, aviation and Game Theory.
In comparison to other Cold War aircraft, there is relatively less published work on the B-58 Hustler. Therefore George’s book helps to fill an important niche while offering an informative, educational and inspiring resource that in his words will “honor the past and advance the future.”
If you are interested in obtaining in obtaining a copy of this exciting, not-to-be missed book, here is the information.
Title and Author: CALL TO GLORY, by George A. Haloulakos
Order your copy by phone: 858-534-4557 OR search online at: ucsandiegobookstore.com