32 search results for "go tell it on "

Go tell it on the mountainJames Baldwin once remarked that the story of Black America was America’s story and believe that it was impossible to separate the two.  Nearly all of this nation’s major events are in some way related to the plight of America’s minorities.  The country that is the land of immigrants becomes more of a melting pot with each passing week.  The recent documentary “13th” highlighted the system of mass incarceration that has resulted in America having the largest prison population of anywhere in the world and millions of young Black and Hispanic men and women being placed behind bars for extended sentences based on convictions for trivial crimes.  At the heart of the African-American experience is the precarious state of the immediate family structure and the constant discord that exist.

Those familiar with Baldwin’s story will recognize that his life serves as some of the basis for the book. In fact, for most authors, personal experiences sometimes provide the best material.  In this story, we dive deep inside a blended family with a large closet of secrets and a son trying to figure out his place within this family. As the novel begins, we are introduced to the Grimes family who are making their way to the local storefront church for the day’s service. The parents are Elizabeth and Gabriel who have a family of four consisting of John the protagonist, Roy who takes after Gabriel and Sarah and Ruth, the two sisters who have strictly supporting roles in the story.  In fact, Ruth is baby and has no dialogue.  It is John’s fourteenth birthday and he finds himself at a crossroads in his life as he tries to understand the path which he will take as he continues to mature.  As the story continues, we come to learn that Gabriel harbors an unusual resentment towards John and is frustrated over Roy’s increasingly rebel behavior and inability to accept the faith.  Faced with four mouths to feed, Gabriel is absent most of the time working to provide for his family. He drinks heavy and is physically abusive.  Elizabeth does not work and takes care of the children all day.  Gabriel’s sister Florence stops by and after her arrival the once contained feelings of animosity between brother and sister come rising to the surface. One day, Roy is knifed in a fight on the west side of Manhattan.  During the argument that ensues between the adults, Gabriel strikes Elizabeth and his actions set off a chain of events.  And at that point, we are told the background stories on each of the major characters.  What we learn is that many dark secrets surround the family, centering around Gabriel, the Reverend who is a man of the faith.  The revelation about his true connection to John is the crux of the book and critical to understanding Gabriel’s tragic character.

The lives of Gabriel, Florence and Elizabeth are further impacted by several deceased characters. Esther, Frank, Royal, Richard and Deborah fill in the blanks to the story and explain the present day situations that exist. Deborah and Esther in particular linger over the entire story and threaten Gabriel’s very existence.  Their appearances in the book and the events that follow underscore the importance of a stable home and the presence of a father in the home.  I firmly believe that Baldwin was making a very pointed statement about the issue. Gabriel’s position as a reverend also has a clear intention regarding the topic of religion which is a main theme in the book.  As we read we are required to examine our own religions beliefs and how they influence our actions or non-actions.  The African-American community remains strongly devout in Christianity and the Bible is viewed as the most important book to have in a household.  In fact, in my own home, the Bible was openly displayed and any interference with it was subject to a tongue lashing or sometimes worse.  Today in 2016, much is still the same in many homes and shows no signs of slowing down.  But a critical question we have to ask is does religion help or sometimes hinder?  And just how did it affect the characters in the book either positively or negatively?

The darker moments in the book give rise to a part of the story that could easily be overlooked.  The era of Jim Crow and often violent racial discrimination forced millions of Black Americans to relocate throughout the country as they scattered to leave the south. However, even in the north and other parts of the union, poverty and hatred continued to haunt recent emigrants . The fears and uncertainty are displayed in Richard’s character and his fate.  Baldwin pulls no punches in showcasing the disparity which plagued countless numbers of homes during that era and resulted in a system of dysfunction that permanently broke the Black family structure. And in the book we witness the characters struggle to keep the family together and in unison.  But when it seems that all is lost, the protagonist John becomes the hope of the family and the light at the end of the tunnel.  Elizabeth, Elisa and Florence serve as his guardian angels intent on preventing him from becoming another Gabriel and continuing the cycle that doomed prior generations. John realizes his potential, the truth about Gabriel and his demons and comes to terms with the fact that he will have to go tell it on the mountain.

ISBN-10: 0345806549
ISBN-13: 978-0345806543

 

 

fiction

baldwinOn May 24, 1963, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy met with a group composed of authors and civil rights icons at his Central Park South apartment.  Among those in attendance were Lorraine Hansberry and her friend and fellow author, James Baldwin (1924-1987). The meeting quickly became volatile as the activists accused the Kennedy administration of dragging its feet on civil rights legislation. Their frustrations at the rampant discrimination in the United States and the inability of the government to take action, boiled over and Kennedy found himself in a hornet’s nest of raw emotion.  The meeting left a permanent mark in his memory but in time he would become a vocal advocate for equal rights for all American regardless of race, creed or gender.  His resurgence as the candidate of the poor and the downtrodden became the basis for his 1968 president campaign that ended tragically with his assassination in Los Angeles on June 5 ,1968.  Baldwin outlived Kennedy by nineteen years and today both are remember for their efforts to transform the American conscious and way of thinking.   In recent years, his work has been rediscovered and studied for its messages that were accurate then and are accurate now.   Baldwin’s public stance of many topics was blunt and non-confusing. He did not mince his words and his delivery was direct and always mean to stir thought.  But for all of his public actions, his private life is a story on its own that shows the author in a completely different light.  His friend for many years, David Leeming, wrote this biography of his late friend to show the world who the real James Baldwin was.  And what he has composed is a definitive account of the life of the late author.

The story of Baldwin’s life reads like a Shakespearean tragedy.  As a Black American born during the Jim Crow era and an openly homosexual, he was in unique position to observe the world classified under two groups of individuals openly persecuted in American society.  The New York native struggled to find himself and his journey in life took him back and forth across the ocean to Europe where he would find a second him in France.  And it was in France that he took his last breath after succumbing to the effects of a protracted battle with lung cancer.  During a visit to Istanbul, Turkey in 1968, he met Leeming and the two formed a friendship that lasted for the rest of his life.  Leeming was present when Baldwin passed and had also become close to Baldwin’s brother David who is featured throughout the book.

Homosexuality was a topic that Baldwin had no fear of addressing. His classic Giovanni’s Room tackles the taboo subject and did so at at time when such topics were only discussed in secrecy.  However the book breaches a subject to which millions of people can relate as they face the same struggle daily.  And when he wrote the all-time classic Go Tell It On The Mountain, he took us deep inside a blended family with a long history that continues to affect present day affairs. The book’s protagonist John, is forced to navigate this world as he finds his true calling in life.   The reality of his works is that his own personal experiences helped shape his literary accomplishments.  The same can be said about other authors such as Lorraine Hansberry, John Steinbeck Ernesto Che Guevara, M.D.  Baldwin’s personal life and his orientation proved to be his most difficult challenges and throughout the book we are witnesses to his enduring struggle to find true love.  In an ironic twist, the author who loved his people and his country, never found that love at home but instead traveled the world in search of it and himself.

Baldwin has been gone for nearly thirty years but I believe that in the next few years, his voice will become heard again as America continues to deal with discrimination.  The cause in which he enlisted is far from over but his voice remains to guide us along the way.  After reading this book, I felt inspired by his courage and gifts to us and ashamed for  not having known more about him prior to this.   For some he may come across as a radical too outspoken but for others, he is an icon and a voice of truth when most did not want to hear it. David Leeming has done a great service to his friend with this excellent biography with one of America’s greatest writers.

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” – James Baldwin 

ISBN-10: 1628724382
ISBN-13: 978-1628724387

Biographies

winshipThe civil war the engulfed the small Central American nation of El Salvador from 1980-1992 caused the deaths of over 75, 000 people.  The violence, heartache and oppression felt by millions of El Salvadorans has reverberated over the years as a reminder of dark times for the country known as the “Pulgarcito” (Tom Thumb of the Americas). The conflict forced millions of people to flee, many of them settling in the United States.  For those that remained,  they faced years of more turmoil but also slow and steady healing.  The nation still has a long way to go and for the youth, there is much to tell about growing up in one of the most violent countries in the world.

Jim Winship is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewate and was once a Fulbright Scholar in El Salvador and Colombia.  By his own admission, he has traveled to El Salvador well over a dozen times.  It has become a second home for him and his fondness for the country is evident in his words.   This book by Winship takes a different approach to El Salvador and in comparison to Joseph Frazier’s El Salvador Could Be Like That, the story here is about the youth of the country and what it means to come of age in a place without many sources of hope. The book is set in two parts, the first tells the history of El Salvador, introducing or re-introducing facts to the reader.  I believe many Americans will be surprised at some of the things that can  be found in the book.  And I will go a step further and say that there may be some people who could place the small country on a map.  To some, it is an afterthought or just another Latin American nation plagued by corruption and violence.  But to take a such narrow-minded view disregards the complicate and tragic history between El Salvador and the United States.  In fact, El Salvador’s existence for the last forty years is directly related to U.S. foreign policy.  The truths are uncomfortable but necessary in understanding the decline of a beautiful country with some of the nicest people who I have met.

The second half of the book moves on to the stories of young people who have grown up in El Salvador, some of them through the civil war.  This is the crux of the book and drives home the author’s points about coming of age in El Salvador.  The words are sharp and the stories moving, leaving readers to question what they thought they knew.   Person after person, we learn of the despair and income inequality faced by young men and women making life in El Salvador perilous.  Unsurprisingly, nearly a third of El Salvadorans live in the United States. Some are legal, others illegal, but they all have their stories of how and why they left the only home they knew.  Some will go back either on their own accord or by deportation.   What they will bring back to their home nation could be a blessing or a curse.  As Winship relays in the book, the deportations carried about the U.S. Government helped set the stage for one of the largest crime waves in El Salvador’s history.  And that same crime wave is now spreading across American cities.  I believe many readers will shake their head in bewilderment at the revelations in that section. The old adage holds true that we do reap what we sow.

No book about El Salvador would be complete without a discussion about violence there.  Winship discusses this to give readers an honest analysis of violent crime.  Latin America is a hotbed of revolution and has been for over a century.   The late Simón Bolívar once said “when tyranny becomes law, rebellion is right”.  Across the continents of Central and South America, violent protests and removals of presidents sometimes by military force, have etched into the fabric of the many nations found on both continents, a lingering distrust of government and vicious cycles of corruption that may never be broken. Whether El Salvador can leave both of these in the past completely, remains to be seen.  The future for some is bleak but others never give up.  And one day they may reach their goals of prosperity, health and happiness.  But their stories will always remind of days past when there was no shining light.

ASIN: B00L4CKRG0

Investigative Report

20191029_225511(0)Some of you known him as a rapper, others know him as a film star.   To be fair, he is both of them and a lot more.  Personally, I knew of Common for years before he broke into Hollywood.  The star of ‘John Wick 2‘ and ‘Run All Night‘ earned his stripes on the underground rap circuit before going mainstream.  I saw him perform live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and it was a show for the ages.   The electricity was in the air and the place erupted as soon as he stepped on stage.  He was larger than life and rightfully so.   I saw this book in the lobby of my building and instantly grabbed it.  Admittedly, I was unaware of this biography but thoroughly intrigued to see what he had to say.

From the start, it is clear that the book is not a typical autobiography.  In fact, the structure of the book is different with Common and his mother Mahalia Ann Hines taking turns in presenting the story.  As expected, it starts with his birth in Chicago to Mahalia and the late ABA star Lonnie Lynn (1943-2014).   The marriage did not survive and Lynn would later relocate to Denver.   But he remained a part of his son’s life and Common discusses many memories of his father that helped shape him into the man he is today.   But make no mistake, his mother is the dominant force here and their relationship was cemented in stone over the years as young Rashid grows up in one of America’s most dangerous cities.

Since this is a story about Common, the world of rap music is a topic of discussion. Common tells us how he became entranced by rap and his traversal from possible college graduate to a young rapper determined to strike it big.  The odds were surely against him but his determination and belief in himself are inspiring and one of the many uplifting moments in the book.   His success was not easy by any means but he does exemplify the old wisdom that one should never give up on a dream.   And yes, other stars make an appearance in the story such as the late Tupac Shakur (1972-1996).

To say that there is more the Common than what we see on screen is an understatement.  Being from Chicago, he is fully aware of the streets and reveals some mishaps and deeds of his own that he would probably take back if he could.  But such is life and it is full of lessons.  One of the most challenging is love and Common is not immune to the trials and tribulations that come with relationships.  While he does not provide gossip for online forums of magazines, he does talk about his relationships with singer Erykah Badu and actress Taraji P. Henson.   We sometimes view celebrities as living in another dimension but the truth is that they are just like everyone else. Heartbreak can and does happen to everyone.  But this is Common we are talking about and he does not stay down.  He keeps moving forward, taking the lessons in stride with the intention of not making the same mistake again.   And from what I have seen, he is a remarkable person who understands the importance of hard work and humbleness.

His mother Mahalia’s wisdom is timeless and she is wise beyond her years.  I truly loved her part of the book where she passes along sages of knowledge that we can all keep with us.  However, she is not without her faults and is open about where she went wrong at times.  But what is clear is that she loves her son and has always been his biggest supporter.  I am sure that will continue as Common matures and takes on bigger projects which will reap him more and more success.

Common’s story is not over yet, and I do hope that he has many more years to go in his career.  In fact, he is only forty-seven years of age.  But if you want to know who he is, where he comes from and where he wants to go, then you cannot go wrong with this enjoyable autobiography by mother and son who open up their lives to the public.  And it is true that one day it’ll all make sense.

ISBN-10: 1451625871
ISBN-13: 978-1451625875

Biographies

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There is a saying that a fine line exist between genius and insanity.   Some would argue that they are one in the same.  The greatest minds in history were possessed by those who could have been described as unorthodox to say the least.  But creativity needs a foundation, one that encourages and allows the creator to tap into all of their gifts.  Musicians tend to stick out the most when it we think about this for their industry is not only fiercely competitive but without creativity, you have no career.   Those who understand this concept and master it, go on to become great and in some cases, legendary.  When Rick James (1948-2004) died from a heart attack on August 6, 2004, a light was extinguished and a musical great was lost forever.  During his lifetime, he created a persona for himself and composed music that is still played to this day.  His hits Super Freak and Give It To Me Baby are dance classics that sound as good today as they did when they were released.  Prior to his death, he found himself in the spotlight when actor and comedian Dave Chappelle created a skit based on James’ life.  In the skit, Chappelle takes on the role of James as Charlie Murphy recalls his Hollywood stories.   In one of the skits, James remarks  “cocaine is a hell of a drug”.   It was a part of his life as was much more as can be learned in this brutally frank autobiography of one of the music industry’s most extreme characters.

But just who was James Ambrose Johnson who we came to know as Rick James?  And just how crazy was his life?  I can tell that you his life was a wild ride and once I started this book I could not put it down.   It was a miracle that he lived as long as he did.   His life was anything but boring and there is no point in the book where there is a calm moment.  His story is told with the help of David Ritz, whom some readers may recall, is the author of Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye.  The difference here is that this is James telling us his story whereas in Gaye’s case, Ritz is telling us about Marvin’s short life.  Regardless, both books are enjoyable and shocking to read but necessary in understanding the character behind the musical geniuses we came to love.  And no matter what we think about their lives, we can agree that they saw and accomplished things that many of us never will.   Tragically, both died before reaching sixty years of age.  As Rick tells it, he did not want to meet the same fate as Marvin, but ironically drugs would play a part in his demise.  And although he outlived Gay by a few decades, his lifestyle caught up to him.  The only difference is that Gaye was murdered by his father whereas Rick’s heart could not keep up.

His story is simply incredible and filled with names that we all know such as Steven Tyler, Carrie Fisher,  and gridiron great Jim Brown, among others.   And his feud with Prince is both hilarious and confusing.  Prison, the military and even assault make appearances in his recollections.  I warn readers that James holds nothing back and tells us what he went through in some gritty terms.   But as you read the book and come to know him, you will understand that it could only have been written that way.  He was not one to sugar coat things and be politically correct.  With Rick James, you either take him or leave him and fortunately for us, most of the world took him and his songs that have moved many dance floors.   This book is rough and at times he can be quite vulgar.  The incidents are shocking but the key is to remember that James and many artists. lived in a completely different world than the average person.  To be successful, it was  sometimes necessary to view the world through very different lenses.  The fast life becomes the norm with drugs, money, sex and power readily at your fingertips.  The seduction of that life is often too strong for many to resist and as James tells us himself, he could not escape his inner demons or what it is called in the book, the Me Monster.   In fact, at one point, Ray Charles flat-out states that he wrote some of his best material when he was high.   But the pull of the devil is stronger than gravity forcing the abuser to use all of their might to escape rock bottom.

I believe that it took an extraordinary amount of courage to write this book.   What I found striking is that for all of his antics, he never ceased to love his mother who figures prominently throughout his autobiography as the grounding force to Rick’s increasing erratic life. She and others would do their best to set him on the right path but in the end, he lived his life on his terms whether for better or worse.  He is long gone but left behind many great songs , interviews and television appearances.  This autobiography is a gift, allowing us to read his story as he wanted it told.  And when you have finished this book, you will understand what he meant by the glow.

ISBN-10: 1476764158
ISBN-13: 978-1476764153

Biographies

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The Cuban Revolutionary war has been viewed through different lenses, typically dependent upon which side of history the viewer falls on.  Fidel Castro’s march through Havana after the exit of Fulgencia Batista was paraded as the era of change that Cuba needed in order to break out from Yankee imperialism and the iron grip of organized crime.  The charismatic and bearded leader introduced a new pride in Cubans with promises of true revolution and equality for all.  Today, nearly sixty years later, we know that did not happen and the true number of people persecuted under his rule may never be known.  Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990) was just one of thousands of exiles who were able to leave the island they called home to escape relentless persecution because of their sexuality and literary beliefs.  And when he took his own life on December 7, 1990,  an end came to a short but painful life in which he never truly found peace.  Before his death he made it a goal to complete this autobiography as a sort of farewell gift to those who knew him or his work.  His death was no accident and Arenas explains himself that he will in fact leave this world as his choosing.  Twenty-seven years have passed since his death but his story is remarkable even today.  The book was adapted into a screenplay  by Julian Schnabel and the film starred Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp.  Both are great actors but as good as the film may be, the only person who told Arenas’ story the best was Arenas himself.

The author begins the book by taking us back to his childhood in Cuba, in particular his village of Holguín where he was born into a village of poverty where he and his closest siblings had no shoes and sometimes ate the earth.  The descriptions of the poverty that could be found in his village are shocking but an accurate portrayal of life in small villages just decades ago.   At a young age, he realizes he is a homosexual and his sexual orientation will be a major factor in almost all of the events that take place throughout the rest of his life.  They are also central to everything in the book.   Stories of the persecution of homosexuals in Cuba under the Castro government are well-known but those outside of Cuba may not know just how much.   In a society where all were supposed to be equal, the blatant harassment and discrimination of gay men and women contradicted the revolutionary ideology.  Nevertheless, from Arenas’ words, it does seem at times as if homosexuality was as common as heterosexuality.  His encounters with men are spontaneous, dangerous and also numerous. And his descriptions of his encounters and what he witnesses are graphic and not for readers that are uneasy with explicit sexual dialogue.

As a writer, Arenas also possessed another quality which made him an enemy of the state.  He explains himself that Castro does not like writers, either those for or against the government and the suppression of  free thought, speech and works of literature is present everywhere as big brother cracks down in Orwellian style manifested in the classic 1984.  Informants, mail-opening and surveillance were tools of the trade as ordinary citizens lived under a microscope where everyone was suspected of being counter-revolutionary and forced to live on meager rations with nearly no income.  In fact, their lives stood in stark contrast to the opulent lifestyle enjoyed by Castro and his subordinates.  In short, it was the classic totalitarian state despite of the image projected by the Castro regime.  Cuban exiles will readily agree with this but even in Cuba, there are those who believed in Castro and still do.  The debate will go on for an eternity.

Arenas realizes that his sexual orientation and writing have made him a target and he knows it is just a matter of time before the authorities come for him.   They do and his incarceration in Cuban jails makes up the central part of the book.  His descriptions of life in Cuban prisons defy belief and it is a miracle that anyone survives.  Towards the end of the book, he admits that he never fully healed from prison and that no one ever does.  But he remains strong in the face of adversity as authorities do their best to break his spirit and turn him into informant.  When he finally puts prison behind him, he troubles are over as he has to earn a living but is known to the State and known in society as part of a group of people who are often ostracized. He knows he must get out of Cuba, but the questions remains as to how he will do it.  A chance event in Peru changes his life and the lives of thousands of other Cubans and when he finally steps foot on U.S. soil, the next phase of his life begins but not long before it tragically ends.

Although this is Arenas’ autobiography, he tells the story of the lives of many people close to him, all struggling to find peace and happiness in a society which represses anything an everything.   Scene and scene of debauchery and tragedy play out by characters just short of despair. Their stories and Arenas’ life reveal the facade behind the triumphant revolution which replaced on dictator with another who was at times even more brutal towards his own citizens.   In a cruel twist of fate, Castro outlived Arenas and many other Cuban exiles depriving them of the chance to see Cuba after Castro.  The future will tell if Cuba will every truly be free but as the nation moves towards that goal, then it is best served to remember the stories of those who have suffered and Arenas who through his words, one of Cuba’s loudest voices.

ISBN-10: 0140157654
ISBN-13: 978-0140157659

Biographies

lombard Aviation is truly one of the world’s modern marvels.  To say that it has made the world smaller is an understatement.  There is something mystical and surreal about moving through the air at 39,000 feet, at speeds in excess of 500mph.  Every flyer knows that there are inherent dangers when we take to the skies.  Pilots are incredibly skilled and make the experience seem like magic to those of us in the cabin.  And air travel is safer today that at any point in history but there many tragedies over the years that we have learned from in order to make air travel as safe as possible.  Seasoned pilots will tell you that the early days of aviation were quite dangerous and flying literally was like rolling the dice. On January 16, 1942, movie star Carole Lombard (1908-1942) was a passenger on TWA Flight 3, a flight that began in New York and had a final destination of Burbank, California.  Most of the trip was routine, but a sudden change of events in Las Vegas, changed the course of history and resulted in one of the deadliest aviation accidents of the 1940s.  Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed full speed into Mt. Potosi, causing the aircraft to disintegrate upon impact.  There were no survivors.

The official cause of the disaster is still a mystery.  At the time, flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders did not exist in the form that they do now. The pilot, Wayne Clark Williams and co-pilot Stillman-Morgan Atherton Gillette, took what they knew with them to the grave.  For decades, the case remained dormant but author Robert Matzen brings the past back to life in this gripping account of the life of Carole Lombard, her husband and legendary film star William Clark Gable (1901-1960) and the plane crash that shocked a nation.  Matzen has visited the crash site which is still littered with debris and other grisly finds.  He has reviewed thousand of pages of records including FBI files and official investigation records by the Civil Aeronautics Board (1939-1985). And what he has compiled is a thorough investigative report into the accident that rob Hollywood of one of its brightest stars.

Flight 3’s demise of the crux of the book but the author also tells the story of Lombard’s life, from her humble beginnings in Fort Wayne, Indiana to her success in Hollywood during the golden age.  Matzen leaves no stone unearthed, revealing the very private side of Lombard’s life, replete with romances, tragedy and and a near-death experience many years before she met her fate on Flight 3.   The author captures the aura of the golden era in Hollywood, a time unlike anything the world had seen previously.  Some of the greatest names in Hollywood history appear in the story, coming into and going out of Lombard’s life as she moves through Hollywood’s upper echelon.  She eventually crossed paths with Gable and Matzen provides an inside look into their marriage and the changes that took place in their lives after tying the knot.  Hollywood has dark secrets and stars sometimes come with many shortcomings carefully guarded behind a thoughtfully crafted facade.  Matzen looks past that showing the very human side of both.  The result is an honest an intimate portrait of two stars at the height of their careers whose relationship was on borrowed time.

Matzen wrote the book in a slightly different style.  In the first half of the book, the chapters alternate between Lombard’s life story and the reaction to the crash itself.  Towards the middle of the book, the seam is merged and the story moves forward as emergency personnel formulate plans to visit the crash site and recover what they can.  Readers sensitive to graphic descriptions of accidents may find this part of the book difficult to get through.  The accident was nothing short of devastating.  As Matzen explained the violent nature of the collision, I felt a chill go down my spine.  I was also speechless as I read descriptions of the carnage that awaited personnel as they made their way to the crash site.  At the end of the book, there are photographs included which help to give the reader a visual image of the crash site.  Pictures sometimes do speak a thousand words.

Clark Gable remains one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars.  But what the public did not see was the struggle he waged in the wake of his wife’s death.  Matzen discusses Gable’s life after the crash and up until his death in 1960 at the age of fifty-nine.  Apart from the crash, this part of the book is also a tough read.  We witness the emotional and physical descent by Gable as he struggles to move on in life following the loss of Lombard whom he affectionately referred to as “Ma”.  His sorrow is strong and his life was never the same again. The author focuses on his emotional state and his surprising decision to enlist in the military during World War II.  Gable is a man apart and fans of the late star will find this part of the book to be equally heartbreaking.

As the book moves towards its conclusion, the author gives us yet another surprise with regards to the crash of Flight 2793 on November 8, 2007.  The Cessna was a T182t single-engine aircraft piloted by Civil Air Patrol. Col. Ed Lewis and copilot Dion DeCamp.  Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed directly into the same mountain as TWA Flight 3.  The coincidence was beyond creepy but did both flights crash for the same reason?  And why did two planes, piloted by experienced captains slam full speed into a mountain that by all accounts, should have been seen?  Matzen provides a very thorough and likely explanation for Flight 3’s crash and reveals interesting facts about 2793’s final moments. Perhaps the final truth will never be known about each flight but we do have an abundance of information about both crashes.  They each highlight the dangers of flying at night without proper visual aids and pre-flight planning.  May the souls on board of each rest in peace.

Before reading this book, I was not aware of Flight 3 and the sad ending to the life of Carole Lombard.   The book came as a recommendation on Amazon and for some reason the cover pulled me in.  It was truly a fascinating read and the pace of the book never let up.  Matzen has done an outstanding job. Highly recommended.

If you want to learn more about TWA Flight 3, researcher Mike McComb has an informative post on the tragedy titled January 16, 1942: Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA), Douglas DC-3 (NC1946) Potosi Mountain, NV.  The post includes more photographs of Mt. Potosi, the crew and some of the passengers.  If you like this book, you will find the website to be highly informative and just as thought provoking as Matzen’s work.

ASIN: B01NCTWGWK

Investigative Report

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