Good day, bookies! It’s the weekend! Stand by for book news and comment.
*** Torpedo 8. If you’re a WW2 buff, I need say no more, you know exactly what this was and what happened. However, if you’re not a WW2 buff, a short explanation is in order. Torpedo 8 was the carrier torpedo plane squadron that was wiped out to the last plane, and almost to the last man, during the Battle of Midway in June, 1942. Ensign George Gay was the sole survivor. This would be a tragic story if their sacrifice had not lead directly to the staggering US victory at Midway.
Torpdeo planes needed to be close to the water to drop their torpedoes, otherwise they would malfunction. The TBD Devastators of Torpedo 98 were very slow and very underarmed. Sitting ducks for the Japanese Combat Air Patrol that swooped down like hungry raptors and slaughtered them. However, by doing that the Japanese abandoned defending the higher altitudes where, just as the last of Torpedo 8 was crashing into the sea, US dive bombers appeared. Unhindered by fighters they went on to sink 3 out of the 4 Japanese aircraft carriers, effectively ending the spread of the Japanese across the Pacific and handing the initiative over to the US.
A new book, A Dawn Like Thunder by Robert J Mrazek finally does justice to the sacrifice these men made. When the Japanese CAP was swarming around them, not one plane veered off from its attack run. They all stayed on course, died, and in so doing set up victory.
*** Smith College is hosting an exhibit that I would love to see, “From Weimar to War: Popular Propaganda in Germany 1928-1941”. Mostly featuring ‘cigarette albums’, this shows the evolution of modern propaganda under watchful eye of the man who more or less invented it, Joseph Goebbels.
*** This one goes under the category of ‘How stupid can you possibly be?’ J.K. Rowling will no longer be the patron for the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland. Think about that a second. You are a charity, your highest profile patron is perhaps the world’s most well known author, and you lose her patronage because of a management dispute? Seriously? Who are you going to get to replace her? These people are so dense, so stupid, that frankly I have to wonder if they don’t serve in the US Congress, having written the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Indeed, they may be even more doltish than the brainless fools who wiped out the used children’s books business, because we expect members of Congress to be idiots, but you would hope that managers of charities might exhibit at least the slightest bit of good sense.
*** Finally, an emailer asked me if there was a new book coming out titled “John Calipari will burn in Hell.” I have researched this extensively and, as of this writing, I can say that I have found no evidence that such a book is being published. Lots of evidence for the premise, but none for the book. Sorry to my correspondent, but look at it as your opportunity to write the book yourself.