Bill Yenne writes “with a cinematic vividness.”
— The Wall Street Journal
About Bill Yenne
Bill Yenne is the author of more than three dozen non-fiction books, as well as ten novels. His work has been selected for Chief of Staff of the Air Force Reading List. He is the recipient of the Air Force Association’s Gill Robb Wilson Award for the “most outstanding contribution in the field of arts and letters [as an] author whose works have shaped how thousands of Americans understand and appreciate airpower.” .
Mr. Yenne has contributed to encyclopedias of both world wars, and has appeared in documentaries airing on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, C-SPAN and ARD German Television. His on-air credits also include his appearance on Mystery Files: Sitting Bull on the Smithsonian Channel. Among his memorable appearances on C-SPAN was a recent discussion of his book Operation Long Jump: Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill and the Greatest Assassination Plot in History. This lecture can be viewed here.
General Wesley Clark called Mr. Yenne’s biography of Alexander the Great, the “best yet,” while The New Yorker wrote of Sitting Bull, his biography of the great Lakota leader, that it “excels as a study in leadership.” General Craig McKinley, president of the Air Force Association, wrote that in Mr. Yenne’s Hap Arnold: The General Who Invented the US Air Force, he had done “a superior job helping the reader better understand General Arnold both as an individual and as a military leader.”
His books on aviation and military history have included his Area 51 Black Jets, which T.D. Barnes, formerly with NASA High Range and Area 51 Special Projects, described as “not a book that the reader will lay down and not finish. It holds one’s interest from front to back.” His dual biography of Dick Bong and Tommy McGuire, Aces High: The Heroic Story of the Two Top-Scoring American Aces of World War II, was described by pilot and best-selling author Dan Roam as “The greatest flying story of all time.” Mr. Yenne has written histories of America’s great aircraft makers, including Convair, Lockheed, and McDonnell Douglas, and has been praised for his recently-updated The Story of the Boeing Company.
The New Yorker wrote of Sitting Bull, Mr. Yenne’s biography of the great Lakota leader, that it “excels as a study in leadership.” This book was named to Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of the year, placing at Number 14 (or Number 5 for non-fiction). This was after Amazon included it among their “Significant Seven” during the month of its release. Said Amazon, “Bill Yenne has produced a fascinating and exhaustively researched biography, cutting through legend to place the Lakota leader squarely in his own cultural context.”
Bill Yenne has traveled far and wide to research his topics and to shoot the photographs that have appeared in his books. He followed the entire 3,000 miles of the Lewis and Clark Trail; he flew in the jump seat of a B-52 bomber; he fired a Thompson submachine gun in a shooting competition; and he has climbed to the top of more than a dozen Gothic cathedrals across Europe.
His fiction works include an alternate history about General George Patton, entitled A Damned Fine War and the Raptor Force trilogy as well as his Into the Fire, a novel of men and women at war, which Publishers Weekly calls “authentic down to the smell of explosives and the stink of sweat and fear.” Michael Castleman, author of the Ed Rosenberg mystery series writes of the first in his series of Bladen Cole Westerns that the “plot has more twists and turns than the Missouri River… Yenne effectively evokes the loneliness and wide open spaces of the Big Sky Country.”
Bill Yenne grew up in the Big Sky Country, inside Montana’s remote and rugged Glacier National Park, where his father, William J. Yenne was the supervisor of backcountry trails. He spent his summers in the remote mountains, and his winters becoming a voracious reader and history buff. In reviewing one of Mr. Yenne’s books, John Smithers of Montana’s Missoulian wrote: “Bill Yenne is a perfect example what happens when a child reads too many books and doesn’t watch enough television. He ended up with an imagination.”
He is a graduate of the University of Montana and the Stanford University Professional Publishing Course, and is the founder of American Graphic Systems, whose AGS BookWorks division is the producer of nearly 200 large-format, illustrated books.
Before turning to a career as an author, Mr. Yenne was a nationally recognized artist and illustrator. His work appeared in a number of national magazines, including Rolling Stone, and several of his paintings are in the official collection of the US Air Force. Bill Yenne makes his home in San Francisco, where he and his wife, Carol, raised two daughters, Azia and Annalisa. He currently has several new projects in the works.
Left: Bill Yenne at the podium during an appearance and book signing at the Hiller Aviation Museum