Last month I relayed a yarn about Tex Hill and Major Roy Hudson that turned out to be a bit off the mark. Now Butch Chennault has come up with one with a better claim to accuracy. When the Claire Chennault "Great Americans" commemorative stamp was issued in September 1990, the place-of-issue was Monroe, Louisiana, where the Old Man had lived for many years. Tex Hill joined the Chennault family for the ceremony. Writes Butch:
When my grandfather was honored with a $.40 stamp it took place at the [University of Louisiana] campus in Monroe. Most of the family was there. They were sitting in the 4th row in the gym and my father told me to come under the seats. He said get him a drink, open bar outside.... When I got to Tex I asked him if he wanted a drink and he replied "Butch, the only time I refused a drink is when I did not understand the question."
Economics is a dry subject, and foreign policy is often no better. But The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War is an elegant treatment of both. It's popular in Europe to dismiss the gigantic American aid effort of 1947-1952 as a trivial thing, of no real importance in Europe's recovery from the devastation of the Second World War, and furthermore, its importance if any was merely selfish, in that it kept the United States from falling back into the Great Depression of the 1930s. Benn Steil dismantles both arguments. As a share of the country's gross national product, he points out, the European Recovery Program of the 1940s would be worth nearly a trillion dollars today. As for boosting American exports, the actual goal was to replace them with German industrial output, so the money stayed in Europe instead of coming right back to the United States. The Marshall Plan, indeed, led quickly to the NATO alliance that still endures, soon to the continent's economic integration, and eventually and inevitably to the European Union and indeed the euro itself. It was a grand story, and here it is well told.
Also noted this month: Mike Force by Bucky Burruss, told with a go-to-hell verve that reminded me of Jim Morris in his epic War Story. And Bob Bergin's noir detective story set in Bangkok, with echoes of the Vietnam War: When a Dog Barks at Night in Bangkok, It's the CIA! Read about them on the Warbird's Book Club. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford
Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Posted March 2018. Websites © 1997-2018 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.