Monday, August 13, 2007

Wings of Morning. Significant Sentences 11. Afterword.

Significant sentences from Wings of Morning by Thomas Childers, the story of the last American bomber shot down over Germany in WW II, and a vivid re-creation of participation in the war.

Some thoughts by the author, Thomas Childers:

"More than two hundred letters written by Howard Goodner between the fall of 1942 and the spring of 1945 and approximately three hundred letters written by Robert Peterson to his wife Marie during the same period form the documentary core of the book." p. 271.

"Both men wrote almost daily, and, together, their letters offer a remarkable guide to an American air crew's day-to-day experience in training and combat." p. 271.

"In researching the book, I employed methods normally used by professional historians, but in telling the story I have turned to narrative techniques usually associated with fiction." p. 272.

"But ultimately this book belongs to my father, Tom Childers, who inspired it and who did not live to see it completed, and to my late grandparents, Ernest and Callie Goodner, who preserved Howard's letters and his memory and who always believed, as the old wartime song went, that they would meet again." P. 273.

RayS.'s Note: I think this book is one of my most memorable reading experiences. I felt as if I were there with Howard Goodner and the crew of the Black Cat. The ironies of war, so clearly represented in Tolstoy's War and Peace, were reinforced and brought up to date vividly in this book. I thought of JFK's comment (my paraphrase) that life is unfair, that some men die in the war, some are injured and some never leave the country. Life is unfair.

I think, for anyone who wants to understand the experience of WWII, no film, fictional or documentary, can convey the thoughts of the men engaged in combat the way this book can. A remarkable and unforgettable book.

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