“No man is a hero to his valet.” –attributed to Madame Cornuel in the 17th century, but probably an old French or English proverb. But true nonetheless.
I’ve been reading Winston Groom’s “The Aviators.” Subtitle: “Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight.” It’s an epic read itself, not one you can whiz through. I’ve probably read a dozen other books while occasionally picking this one up and reading more. I finally finished it. The ending was noteworthy.
Winston Groom, you will recall, is the author of the Forrest Gump tale, a work of fiction. However, he has done a fair number of histories, very readable accounts of the battle of New Orleans, the year 1942, the Civil War battle of Shiloh, the siege of Vicksburg in the same war, and so forth. I’ve read most of them, and met him at a book signing in New Orleans maybe three years ago. I suppose he was tired, because I was expecting a little more from him in the way of an engaging personality, great stories, and witticisms. Anyway….
Here’s an interesting note from Charles Lindbergh. On March 30, 1944–in the middle of the Second World War–he was preparing for a trip to the South Pacific for the Army to check on a number of aspects on the conduct of the fighting war. So, before leaving, he bought some supplies: “At Abercrombie and Fitch he purchased a waterproof flashlight, and from Brentano’s he acquired a small copy of the New Testament, remarking in his journal that, ‘Since I can carry only one book, it is my choice. It would not have been a decade ago, but the more I learn and the more I read, the less competition it has.'”
Personally, while I appreciate Lindbergh’s words, I will not be attaching too much weight to them for the simple reason that in his last decades he kept moving farther and farther toward the bizarre. I will not belabor that point since readers may research his final years themselves if they are so inclined.