This caught my eye while I was at the library looking for something completely unrelated. I like airshows and cool old planes, so I figured why not. I...moreThis caught my eye while I was at the library looking for something completely unrelated. I like airshows and cool old planes, so I figured why not. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it wasn't this, exactly. There's a lot of inside baseball here concerning airshows, how to run them, and the internal politics of the warbird movement. (If you're like me, you read "warbird" and think "Star Trek?", but no. That's apparently the term for vintage military aircraft.)
For me, this has some utterly skippable parts as well as some very awesome parts. If you're interested in how mechanical things work, the sections on restoring and repairing old planes will hold some appeal. If you generally like to geek over old planes, the section about flying three B-17s across the Atlantic and the retired military pilot talking about carrier landings and how they apply to learning to fly a particular plane (and the general difference between civilian and military aviation training) will likely be of interest.
Several sections are apparently unedited letters or recorded statements. Those, plus the rather, um, antiquated tone and style and viewpoint, were a little off-putting. But overall, I don't feel like I wasted my time.(less)
Written in very simple language ... probably suitable for children, as long as they can cope with a somewhat disorganized narrative. (i.e., if a child...moreWritten in very simple language ... probably suitable for children, as long as they can cope with a somewhat disorganized narrative. (i.e., if a child is old enough to know what war is and think about the ethical problems, then reading this book should be all right.) The author became a born again Christian later in his life and this periodically surfaces in the narrative.(less)
My pragmatic takeaway from reading this and Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies very closely together is, don't live on an island in the middle of a war zone. (Also, think about the UK and the Philippines.) In a larger sense ... it's hard not to feel sick to my stomach when I think about World War II. I mean, yes, there is the massive mobilization and cooperation and pulling together and individual acts of heroism of all kinds ... but at the same time, it's hard not to think of the people who died as deliberately wasted by this disgusting conflict. (Not interested right now in talking about whose fault it was.)
This was a good look at life on Malta during this war, an interesting examination of a little-known aspect of World War II. I do have a couple problems with it, though. The author only cited sources for direct quotes, and one of his citations is "[I think this is from Warburton's War]". Seriously. I think maybe that was supposed to be corrected before printing and wasn't. Kinda weaksauce. Also, he used Anglicized forms of Maltese place names, and didn't note this until the end of the book, rather than the beginning where it should have gone. I happened to stumble on this when I was looking for a source for something ... I care about pronouncing things correctly to a possibly neurotic extent, and so this bothers me.
I did like the extent of the research done into the importance of submarines in the defense and supply of Malta during this time.(less)