Best Book on Aerial Warfare

Discussion in 'Books and Films' started by Gage, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. fixel101

    fixel101 Guest

    Einzelkampfer: May I kindly take issue with your opinions. First, I'm not sure if I am reading you correctly - is it possible that you are referring to nonfictional historic research works (books such as Bomber Boys, Tail-End Charlies, Middlebrook books, Don Miller's recent offering, etc., etc.) as the basis of your opinion? I would opine that these bear on one's perspective because they pose arguments, based on the interpretation of data, which one must assimilate over time and distill into a personal perspective. My perspectives are in a state of flux as it relates to WWII primarily as a function of books such as those above. One book may loose validity, based on its assumptions, arguments and conclusions, as other more palatable arguments and conclusions, related to the interpretation of complex history, come along. Nevertheless, a well-written book is a joy forever, even if one no longer resonates well with the conclusions drawn by the author. In my mind, the initial conclusion that a book is excellent (or possibly the best of its category) fails to erode over time even as other more cogent nonfictional history books (and their concomitant arguments) come along.

    On the other hand, personal accounts are far different in my opinion. My favorites became my favorites on day one and have never budged from that position irrespective of the subsequent accounts I read on comparable subject matter. They attained that position in that they convey an interesting story in a highly articulate and engaging fashion - they are what they are, the author's observations and perceptions - who am I to question the writer's perspective and the eloquence with which it was conveyed based on his/her experience. I could not consider any such book flawed; their standing, in my estimation, remains decidedly immutable from day one.

    To me, books are no different than a movie: either the work is well done or poorly crafted - memorable or crapola. Personal conclusions drawn by the reader after closing the cover are just as subjective as critiquing a film. The breadth of books on varying subjects of aerial warfare is far wider than films on any particular subject, in my view, but the gut responses are the same to me. I can proffer favorites, or clinkers, with respect to both art forms. I do agree with you, though, that as one reads more, new topics of interest take center stage – the older fields of interest, however, never seem to fade for me.

    Cheerio, Monsieur Fixel
  2. That was offered only as my example. What I'm basing this on is reading that I've done over the past 50 years (reading since age 4!). Maybe I should have explained - as I'm sure you know - the fact that learning is a lifelong pursuit, and as you learn more and more, that pursuit accelerates rather than slows. That is because as one learns, only only realizes how much more there is to know. The reason for this being that everything is so interrelated, and that as knowledge areas grow, those areas overlap and create interest, elsewhere, especially in related fields or topics. They are like ever-widening pools of light in the darkness that eventually meet to reveal a new landscape beneath.

    And yes, it is all about perspective. As one grows and life changes you, the way you look at things also changes. When you are 18, something like Band of Brothers looks different than when you're older, have had children and your parents have aged into those old veterans you see at the beginning of the episodes. Your emotional center and life experiences really govern your perspective in most things. Perspective also affects your objectivity and sensitivity towards what you read. As for one's perspective being in a "state of flux", that is the perfectly normal state of a mind that is constantly learning and assimilating new ideas and information.

    At 18, my favorite book in the World was Martin Caidin's, "Flying Fortress". Now, that's just one thread in the tapestry of knowledge I've acquired. Reading it again just a couple of years ago, there's a quality of nostalgia attached, because one inevitably remembers his or her life when it was originally read. But it's no longer my favorite; it's now but a fond part of a body of work on a particular subject.

    Also, as one gets older, works of fiction and non-fiction speak to you differently. The "Book of Five Rings", by Musashi read differently at 20 than it did when I was 30. I read it again about five years ago, and it had an even different meaning to me. The book didn't change, I did. The same goes for "Catcher in the Rye", by J.D. Salinger and many other books.

    I think we agree, and I also think you made my point for me in a very eloquent way. My entire response was based on what I read as a request for your favorite book - singular - on a the subject at hand.

    You state, "My favorites became my favorites on day one and have never budged from that position irrespective of the subsequent accounts I read on comparable subject matter."

    As I wrote previously, asking for a favorite book is somewhat of a loaded question. I have scores of "favorites", as I think you do. My list of favorites is growing longer all the time, and very few have ever lost their appeal, even as I re-read them.

    In fact, I have never, ever, ever sold or traded a book which I've read and enjoyed. Yes, I have gotten rid of works that were "crapola" (those that you never get past the first chapter?), but never a good book. My Mother always told me that books are friends (never "cracked" a spine or tuned down a page to mark my place) that deserve a good place in the home. When I write, I have a beautiful library of references on hand.

    Reading personal accounts and oral histories require a bit of a jaundiced eye at times. In reading first-person accounts, you have to realize that there are assumptions and beliefs contained that are often not borne out by the "big picture". For example, many first-person accounts of the Ardennes Offensive contain numerous references to battling "Tiger tanks", but on studying the actions from a macro level, we know that these were no tigers at all. However, the account is no less powerful, and one can forgive the 19-year old dogface of mistaking a Panther or Mark IV for a Tiger from his perspective in the bottom of a trench. There's a whole cottage industry surrounding whether Sajer's "The Forgotten Soldier" is even real, or not!

    Some personal accounts, especially many we see today, are motivated by things other than telling good history. "Jarheads" is probably the most unadulterated piece of crap ever written about the 'Corps! Reagan said, "Trust, but verify." The same holds true in the study of history.

    Comparing movies and books is hard for me, because I am very hard on movies due to the fact that books have set a high and demanding standard of accuracy for the films I watch. In many ways, that's not fair, but it still galls me to heard dialogue that is out of its era or see equipment that is not right. But hey, that's just me! :D

    Best regards,
  3. fixel101

    fixel101 Guest

    Fair enough, David. Interesting response, gracias. Always interesting to exchange thoughts about literature and the formulation of one's viewpoint(s), especially as it relates to a subject that occupies much of my thoughts (WWII), as well as occupying a special place with respect to my development and foundation.

    Regards, Fixel (Mike)
  4. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Wonderful discussion David and Mike. Thank you both for taking the time to share some of your machinations. In short, and far less eloquently, you can see from some of the comments above, that's it's next to impossible to have just one favourite!

    Totally agree. Books are to be treasured. However, when I was in South Africa for wok in late 2006, I read a newspaper article/feature by a bloke who reckoned books shouldn't be put up on a pedestal. I recall he would tear a big paperback in half so it was more manageable to read and would even bury it in the sand at the beach once he had finished it on holiday. Will see if I can find the article but I read it while shaking my head!
  5. Personally, that's anathema to me.

    If it's a good book, rather than bury it, leave it on a park bench or give it away to a passerby. He sounds a bit like the pseudo-intellectuals I used to know who thought of themselves as a latter day Howard Roark!
  6. fixel101

    fixel101 Guest

    The only thing I've ever torn in half and buried in the sand was my hotel bill, once, resulting from a stay in Cancun! Yup, agreed, a bit excessive as it relates to the bloke's behavior.

  7. edgar hernandez

    edgar hernandez New Member

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