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We Sleep At Night Because America's Armed Forces, Police and Fire Fighters Never Do

Hot, wet and silly

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

It’s hot in Memphis. This is news? It’s also humid in Memphis. Duh, right? Not necessarily. People in hot climates aren’t always exposed to the wet heat we get here on the banks of the Mississippi. For example, yesterday’s heat index was 11 degrees higher than the actual air temperature. If was 94 degrees but felt like 106. And since your friendly neighborhood bookseller cut his backyard yesterday, he can assure you that it did, indeed, feel like every degree of 106. So if you’re in a place with dry heat, enjoy. As for me, I like it this way.

*** I’ve gotta give props to a fellow model/World War II buff out there, and maybe throw some business his way while I’m at it, for a nice new book review on a subject that interests me greatly. The Essential Vehicle Identification Guide: Soviet Tank Units 1939-1945 by David Porter, is a companion volume to Amber’s other such Guide, most notably Chris Bishop’s book on German units, which I have read cover to cover. You don’t usually find such well organized and insightful books on such esoteric topics, so I don’t mind giving such free coverage to such a well run website.

I would also find this book useful in my newly forming ideas about a return to the modeling world, this time with tanks and armored vehicles. So read the review and let the guy know if you liked it. And let him know where you heard about it, too.

A rare but insightful review of an obscure but interesting book on Soviet tanks in WW2

*** Errol Flynn as a Nazi spy? That’s right, a new biographer wants us to believe that the perennial bad-boy swashbuckler really craved Nazism and wanted to see Hitler take over America. And while I have no particular evidence to refute this seemingly outlandish claim, my natural skepticism at such wild accusations seems quite well placed here. I mean, after all, if you want to sell books, what better way than to accuse someone of being a Nazi? The linked article says that the author used de-classified CIA files in his research. Except, the CIA wasn’t established until long after World War II. Does he mean that the CIA’s forerunner, the OSS, kept files? Hardly seems likely, given that they were more focused on external security threats. Or were these FBI files, or did the CIA start files on Flynn after the war?

Sounds like utter twaddle to me. What’s next, Flynn sword-fighting with Churchill? Flynn meeting with aliens? Of course, I haven’t read the book so this is just curmudgeonly ranting, but that’s what I do best.

Errol Flynn as a Nazi?

*** Of course, the Nazis weren’t the only ones recruiting Western superstars as spies. The Soviets wanted in on the action, too, and they picked Ernest Hemingway. That’s right, a new biography alleges that Papa was a KGB agent. And while this, too, seems a bit far-fetched, the USSR by and large received better press here in the states than Nazi Germany ever did. It would not be impossible to think that Hemingway flirted with communism, given that so many other Americans did the same thing.

Still, Flynn was a Nazi and Hemingway a commie? Good thing they were never alone in a room together.

Papa Hemingway and the Hammer and Sickle

*** Word from my sources in Hollywood is that Roman Polanski is signing off on the project to bring Robert Harris’ novel Pompeii to the big screen. The early talk was $130 million to film the book, which is set before during and after the Vesuvius buried the small Roman city and gave us our best preserved site for life during the Early Empire period. Having been there, I can only say that Pompeii the city inspires awe. Pompeii, the movie, might have done the same thing. And might still. Who knows? One can only hope.


The 4th, a day late


Mid July and it’s not hot


  1. Hi Thomas! I love getting messages like this, it's why I do this blog in the first place. And I think you will pick up quickly that I'm a WW2 buff/historian, currently compiling research for a book of my own.

    As for a store, I did have one until 3 years ago but now operate completely from my home, online only. It's just the state of the book world today, unfortunately.

    And I'm jealous that you were in Poland. I would love to go…by the way, on what basis would someone compare Rowan Oak and Graceland? Home owned by famous southerners? Sounds like your wife knows how to sell an article idea to an editor, which is a skill all unto itself. I admire her.

  2. just got MAN ON THE DONKEY from you and thought if you had a shop we'd stop by on the way back after leaving off the son in LA at Pomona College.. the daughter is at Vanderbilt and the wife lived a year in Memphis and I wrote a piece for The Guardian in London comparing Graceland and Rowan Oak.. but I don't think you have a shop but I discovered your neat site: we are just back from Cracow where my wife had business for Elsevier where she is a publisher (I went to Auschwitz and Birkenau) and then on to her mother country Estonia… so you have both sent me something to read and a blog to read

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