Malcolm Gladwell will release a “riveting” new book, The Bomber Mafia: A Story Set in War, this April with Allen Lane.
Josephine Greywoode, publishing director at Penguin Press, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for the book from Little, Brown.
In the book, out on 27th April, the bestselling author weaves together the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in central Alabama, a British psychopath and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard. In doing so, he examines “one of the greatest moral challenges in modern history”.
The publisher explained: “Most military thinkers in the years leading up to the Second World War saw the airplane as an afterthought. But a small band of idealistic strategists had a different view. This 'Bomber Mafia' asked: What if precision bombing could, just by taking out critical choke points — industrial or transportation hubs – cripple the enemy and make war far less lethal? Delving into questions of how technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war, the book reveals how differing ideologies about air bombing culminated in the single deadliest night of he Second World War.”
Gladwell’s books have sold over 20 million copies worldwide to date, according to the publisher. Through Nielsen BookScan he has sold 1.14 million books in the UK for £9.8m, with his bestseller Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Penguin), on 305,223 copies sold in paperback.
He first explored the story of the Bomber Mafia in his podcast “Revisionist History”, which was downloaded 54 million times in 2020. He is also the co-founder and president of Pushkin Industries, an audiobook and podcast production company which will publish the enhanced audiobook edition of The Bomber Mafia in the UK.
An early excerpt from the new titles explains: “This book is about one of the grandest obsessions of the 20th century. I realise, when I look at the things I’ve written about or explored over the years, that I’m drawn again and again to obsessives. I like them. I like the idea that someone could push away all the concerns and details that make up everyday life and just zero in on one thing—the thing that fits the contours of their imagination. Obsessives lead us astray sometimes. Lack the bigger picture. Serve not just the world’s, but their own narrow interests. But I also don’t think we get progress or innovation or joy or beauty without obsessives.”