My monograph Airpower in Literature: Interrogating the Clean War, 1915-2015 was released by Lexington Books in August, 2022. You can purchase a hardback or eBook here or at any of the major online booksellers–or order it at your local indie bookstore.

Read reviews of the book:

By Michael Gruber in The Wrath-Bearing Tree literary journal, November 2023.

By Scott C. Martin in Aether: A Journal of Strategic Airpower & Spacepower published by Air University Press, 20 April 23.

My writing and research examine the representation of airpower and the human costs of airpower employment in twentieth and twenty-first century literature. My interests blend my first career as a USAF Officer and aviator with my newest career teaching and writing about literature. After twenty-two years as a KC-135 navigator, conducting in-flight refueling with other aircraft and flying combat missions over Afghanistan, I returned to my first love, literature.

I recently retired from teaching writing and literature, after fifteen years at four colleges and universities.  I most recently taught American and multi-ethnic literature at Granite State College, NH, but now will focus on skiing, hiking, camping, and promoting my book. Previously, I taught at University of New Hampshire (TA), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Worldwide Campus) and University of Phoenix.

In addition to teaching, I co-facilitated two sessions of “From Troy to Baghdad: Dialogues on the Experience of War and Homecoming” for the New Hampshire Humanities.  In this group, veterans and their families read and discussed Homer’s The Odyssey as a springboard to discover their own truths about combat trauma, personal sacrifice, and readjustment.


Ph.D. English, University of New Hampshire

M.A. English, The College of New Jersey

M.S. Administration, Central Michigan University

B.A. English, Concordia College (NY)

Other Publications

I recently reviewed the book Just War Theory and Literary Studies: An Invitation to Dialogue (by Ty Hawkins and Andrew Kim) for the journal Christianity and Literature (Volume 72, Number 4, December 2023). Click here to read the full review: https://independent.academia.edu/KimberlyKDougherty


“Of the sky above you must beware”: Airspace and Airpower in Twentieth Century Literature.  ProQuest (Dissertation), Spring 2013.





Blog Posts


    Here’s an overview of my monograph Airpower in Literature: Interrogating the Clean War, 1915-2015, just released at Lexington Books:

    The first century of airpower has ended, yet few critics have addressed the literature that chronicles its human toll. Airpower in Literature: Interrogating the Clean War, 1915-2015 offers fresh insight into this airpower century by placing literature of five major wars in conversation with the clean war discourse. Kimberly Dougherty examines the paradoxical representation of aerial warfare that has allowed extensive airstrikes on cities and civilians while promising a “cleaner” method of waging war. First suggested by early military theorists, the notion of a clean air war—one that would save lives through its speed and precision— proved seductive in the twentieth century and continues to shape the rhetoric of airpower today. The air war is perceived as clean, the author argues, when we see neither the aviator nor the targeted populations in the bombing dynamic. Through analysis of fiction, poetry, drama, and journalism, from the ruins of World War I to the technologies of post-modern war, the author identifies counternarratives that make visible both aviators and bombed societies, and present aerial warfare that is not clean, but messy, prolonged, and imprecise. This exploration encourages readers, and writers, to approach the next century of airpower with greater wisdom and empathy.

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    Keynote Speaker

    University of New Hampshire

    Mar 2020

    Presented “Women in the Military: Obstacles Overcome, Contemporary Stories, Vision for the Future” at Women and the Military Luncheon, UNH Military and Veteran Services Center.


    Recent conference presentation:

    Oct 2018:  “The Clean War: A Century of Writing about Airpower” at University of Leicester’s Symposium North American Literature and Culture in the Twentieth Century.





    Women Military Aviators (WMA)


    Kimberly K. Dougherty

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