Archive for Books – Page 2

Bon Courage, mes Amis…

“Lately one heard the expression ‘Je suis las’,” it meant I’m tired of the way I have to live my life, and this is what Mathieu saw in their faces, in the way they walked. But then, he would think that, he cared for the people of Paris, as though he were a guardian.” Alan Furst – A Hero of France

I’ve just finished two books about the French Resistance in World War II. Madame Fourcade’s Secret War and A Hero of France. Both are about spy networks. I thought they would provide some relief from the Trumpian news cycle but was surprised to find a number of parallels. read more

Scrap All Vanity Projects…

In the chaos of the moment, many of us are asking what we can do to right the ship of state. We talk. We read. We watch. We give money if we can. We “like” things on Facebook. We email our friends and urge them to support candidates – and vote. But, somehow it doesn’t feel like enough.

I write a weekly blog, like this one, and because of the president’s actions and the abundance of low hanging fruit I’ve become more political than I wanted to be. It’s satisfying to some extent but not wholly so. read more

My CIA Interview…

Once upon a time there was a clear-eyed, wet behind the ears, 24-year-old who believed national service was honorable. He was a liberal arts college graduate and Marine Corps fighter pilot about to finish his active duty obligation.

He never planned to make the military his career as much as he loved the flying, but he wasn’t sure what was next. Life was open ended. He thought about graduate school in English and a college teaching career. Tweed jackets with leather patches and all that. But that might be too tame.  read more

Remembering Wake Island…

“When we got up, a wind of between 20 and 25 miles was blowing from the north. We got the machine out early and put up the signal for the men at the station.”  Orville Wright’s Diary, December 17, 1903

That was the day of the Wright brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk. I was born the same day (December 17) thirty-four years later, and in 1960 the Chance-Vought Aerospace Company gave me a pin for flying one of their F8 Crusaders 1000 mph. It seems impossible that time could collapse so dramatically in 57 years. read more

Dinner Companions…

James Salter is one of my favorite writers. We had a lot of interests in common–both fighter pilots, skiers, climbers, Francophiles, and food lovers. He wrote elegantly about all of them – The Hunters, Downhill RacerSolo FacesA Sport and a PastimeLife is Meals — and I grieved when he died at age 90 in 2015 .

Yesterday, M and I decided to keep his Life is Meals, a book he wrote with his wife Kay,on our coffee table. Subtitled A Food Lover’s Book of Days, it presents a short entry, maybe a story, an historical anecdote, or a recipe for each day of the year. Today’s entry (June 23rd) is entitled “Dinner Companions” and begins “Epicurus, Montaigne and many others offer the same advice; choose the companions first. Certain people will be better with certain others. read more