***G. Heart's Most Favorite 100 Books***

Welcome to the 100 most favorite critical books in my collection! The quotes are subjectively selected to encourage reading. No rank order is intended; indeed, the first fifty will be just as important as the next fifty.

*Larger black titles are "Must Read Again! (MRA) books - there are 25.

The quotes follow the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001) permitting up to 500 words without explicit permission (p. 122). However, there are two exceptions to the APA format: (a) The first name is spelled out rather than using the initial and (b) the underlining of the titles is used rather than italicizing.

Fate Is The Hunter

"I walk slowly through the rain to the operations office, not really caring if my uniform is further soaked. I decide against asking for a transfer. Ross, in his peculiar way, is making a line pilot of me. And I suppose it is a good way.

Nearly four years would pass before I would again see Ross's matches flaming before me. Then, even though distracted by the drumming of my heart, I would know their incalculable worth" (p. 70).

*(001) Gann, Ernest K. (1961). Fate is the hunter. New York: Simon and Schuster.

To Kill a Mockingbird>

"When he gave us our air-rifles Atticus wouldn't teach us to shoot. Uncle Jack instructed us in the rudiments thereof; he said Atticus wasn't interested in guns. Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I'd rather you shoot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird'" (p. 94).

*(002)Lee, Harper (1960). To kill a mockingbird. New York: Popular Library.

Thud Ridge

"To the men who fought there, the string of small mountains that stretches like a long bony finger to the north and west of Hanoi is known as Thud Ridge....as an attacking fighter pilot, Thud Ridge was one of the few easily identifiable landmarks in the hostile North, marking the route to the modern fighter pilot's private corner of hell -- the fierce defenses and the targets of downtown Hanoi" (p. 19).

(003) Broughton, Jack (1969). Thud Ridge. New York: Popular Library.


"There we stood, by the thousands, all night. Morning, and we began to line up at the Border, as near as they'd let us go. Militia all along to keep us back. They had burned the prairie ahead for miles into the Nation so as to keep the grass down and make the way clearer. To smoke out the Sooners, too, who had sneaked in and were hiding in the scrub oaks, in the draws, wherever they could. Most of the killing was due to them" (p. 18).

(004) Ferber, Edna (1929). Cimarron. New York: Bantam Books.

The Grapes of Wrath

But if we go, where'll we go? How'll we go? We got no money.

We're sorry, said the owner men. The bank, the fifty-thousand-acre owner can't be responsible. You're on land that isn't yours. Once over the line maybe you can pick cotton in the fall. Maybe you can go on relief. Why don't you go on west to California? There's work there, and it never gets cold. Why, you can reach out anywhere and pick an orange. Why, there's always some kind of crop to work in. Why don't you go there? And the owner men started their cars and rolled away (p. 29).

(005) Steinbeck, John (1939). The grapes of wrath. New York: Bantam Books.

The Great Auk

"When standing upright, the great auks considerably resembled their husky cousins in the far Antarctic, the penquins. A full thirty inches tall, even their dress was similar to the penguins. Their heads, necks, backs and wings were a deep glossy black, with the exception of a distinctive oval white spot between the beak and each eye" (p. 10).

"On the shelf the great auk stood on his toes and applauded the sun with his little wings. The others watched, ready to follow his lead and begin the second leg of their migration. Suddenly the thundering shots splintered the air and two of the younger birds fell to the ledge, one lifeless and the other kicking frantically. The old one-eyed female staggered toward the rim of the ledge, a red stain spreading on her immaculate breast feathers where a ball had grazed, ripping away plumage and a little flesh" (p. 118)

(006) Eckert, Allan W. (1963). The great auk. New York: A Signet Book.

The Outsider

"When the Outsider comes to look at other men closely and sympathetically, the hard and fast distinctions break down; he cannot say: I am a poet and they are not, for he soon comes to recognize that no one is entirely a business-man, just as no poet is entirely a poet. He can only say: the sense of purpose that makes me a poet is stronger than theirs. His needle swings to magnetic pole without hesitation; theirs wavers around all the points of the compass and only points north when they come particularly close to the pole, when under the influence of drink or patriotism or sentimentality" (p. 143).

*(007) Wilson, Colin (1956). The outsider. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

The Problem of God

"God is a conscious Person of perfect good will. He is the source of all value and so is worthy of worship and devotion. He is the creator of all other persons and gives them the power of free choice. Therefore his purpose controls the outcome of the universe. His purpose and his nature must be inferred from the way in which experience reveals them, namely, as being gradually attained through effort, difficulty, and suffering. Hence there is in God's very nature something which makes the effort and pain of life necessary. There is within him, in addition to his reason and his active creative will, a passive element which enters into every one of his conscious states, as sensation, instinct, and impulse enter into ours, and constitutes a problem for him. This element we call The Given. The evils of life and the delays in the attainment of value, in so far as they come from God and not from human freedom, are thus due to his nature, yet not wholly to his deliberate choice. His will and reason acting on The Given produce the world and achieve value in it" (p. 113).

(008) Brightman, Edgar S. (1930). The problem of God. New York: The Abingdon Press.

Report To Greco

"I chose. Now the twilight casts its haze upon the hilltops. The shadows have lengthened, the air has filled with the dead. The battle is drawing to a close. Did I win or lose? The only thing I know is this: I am full of wounds and still standing on my feet" (p. 494).

(009) Kazantzakis, Nikos (1965). Report to Greco (P. A. Bien, Trans.). New York: Bantam Books.

The Immense Journey

"For the first time in four billion years a living creature had contemplated himself and heard with a sudden, unaccountable loneliness, the whisper of the wind in the night reeds. Perhaps he knew, there in the grass by the chill waters, that he had before him an immense journey. Perhaps that same foreboding still troubles the hearts of those who walk out of a crowded room and stare with relief into the abyss of space so long as there is a star to be seen twinkling across those miles off emptiness" (p. 126).

*(010) Eiseley, Loren (1946). The immense journey. New York: Vantage Books.

Theology of the New Testament

"Now if truth is the reality of God as the only true reality, then the lie which denies this reality is not merely a false assertion. Rather, the 'liar' withdraws from reality and falls into the unreal, death. For if God is the sole reality, then life is simply openness to God and to him who makes God manifest: 'And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent' (17:3 RSV -- 'eternal life' is equivalent to 'life'; the terms are used interchangeable by John with no difference in meaning)" (p. 19, Vol 2, part 3).

(011) Bultmann, Rudolf (1951). Theology of the New Testament (K. Grobel, Trans.). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

A Sense of Honor

"Do you know what it makes me feel, Dean?" They turned along the road that fronted on Mahan and picked up Fogarty's usual route, passing the Naval Museum and the Tripolitan Monument. "Eternity." Fogarty glanced quickly at Dean's uncomprehending face. "That's right, eternity. I see all these things and I feel like I'm one small part of something so big and great that it'll never die, Dean. Never. This is our country. This is everything that ever made it grow. Stop making those sounds."

"Aye, aye, sir." Dean tried to breath through his nose but could not pull the air in fast enough. He began to wonder if Fogarty belonged to a strange, secret religion that worshipped [sic] cannonballs and concrete. Shinto, he thought absently, trying to keep up. Samurai. (p. 247).

*(012) Webb, James (1981). A sense of honor. New York: Bantam Books.

Moby Dick

I, Ishmael, was one of that crew; my shouts had gone up with the rest; my oath had been welded with theirs; and stronger I shouted, and more did I hammer and clinch my oath, because of the dread in my soul. A wild, mystical, sympathetical feeling was in me; Ahab's quenchless feud seemed mine. With greedy ears I learned the history of that murderous monster against whom I and all the others had taken our oaths of violence and revenge (p. 180).

(013) Melville, Herman (1961). Moby Dick. New York: Signet Classic.

Saint Francis

And the voice of Christ replied from amid the seraph's wings, "Beloved Francis, open your eyes and look! Crucifixion and Resurrection are identical." And Paradise?" cried Francis. "Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Paradise are identical," said the voice, and as it pronounced these final words there was a clap of thunder in the heavens, as though another voice were commanding the vision to return to God's bosom; and all at once the six-winged conflagration rose like a red and green lighting flash and mounted with a hiss into the sky (p. 318).

(014) Kazantzakis, Nikos (1962). Saint Francis. (P. A. Bien, Trans.). New York: Simon and Schuster.

Billions & Billions

The world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral dept, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look Death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides (p. 258).

(015) Sagan, Carl (1997). Billions and billions: Thoughts on life and death at the brink of the millennium. New York: Ballantine Books.

We Were Soldiers Once

They are the Gold Star children, war's innocent victims, and their pain shimmers across the years pure and undimmed. They pass through life with an empty room in their hearts where a father was supposed to live and laugh and love.

All their lives they listen for the footstep that will never fall, and long to know what might have been (p. 397).

(016) Moore, Harold G., & Galloway, Joseph L. (1992). We were soldiers once...and young. New York: HarperPerennial.

Once There Was a War

The pieces in this volume were written under pressure and in tension. My first impulse on rereading them was to correct, to change, to smooth out ragged sentences and remove repetitions, but their very raggedness is, it seems to me, a parcel of their immediacy. They are as real as the wicked witch and the good fairy, as true and tested and edited as any other myth.

There was a war, long ago--once upon a time (p. xiv).

(017) Steinbeck, John (1943). Once there was a war. New York: Bantam Books.

Eight Hours to Solo

Andy swung the plane around into the wind. The day was so warm that they had been flying with the left window open. He took a deep breath. Boy, that air smelled good! "Well, what am I waiting for?" Andy reasoned. "If I'm going to do it, I might as well do it. I certainly can't quit now!"

He eased the throttle forward to Full. The Piper responded eagerly. It fairly raced down the runway. Now bring the tail up level! Now back on the stick! The plane lifted off the runway so easily that it almost seemed as if it, too, felt the excitement of this first solo.

And suddenly Andy's nervousness completely disappeared! "Why, this is no different from flying with the instructor in the plane!" he thought coolly. "If anything it's easier!" (p. 126)

(018) Lent, Henry B. (1947). Eight hours to solo. New York: The Macmillan Company.

On the Beach

She could not see detail but she knew that Dwight was there upon the bridge, taking his ship out on her last cruise. She knew he could not see her and he could not know that she was watching, but she waved to him. Then she got back into the car because the wind was raw and chilly from south polar regions, and she was feeling very ill, and she could watch him just as well when sitting down in shelter.

She sat there dumbly watching as the low grey shape went forward to the mist on the horizon, holding the bottle on her knee. This was the end of it, the very, very, end (p. 237).

*(019) Shute, Nevil (1957). On the beach. New York: A Signet Book.

Journey to Ixtlan

"And thus you will dance to your death here, on this hilltop, at the end of day. And in your last dance you will tell of your struggle, of the battles you have won and of those you have lost; you will tell of your joys and bewilderments upon encountering personal power. Your dance will tell about the secrets and about the marvels you have stored. And your death will sit here and watch you.

"The dying sun will glow on you without burning, as it has done today. The wind will be soft and mellow and your hilltop will tremble. As you reach the end of your dance you will look at the sun, for you will never see it again in waking or in dreaming, and then your death will point to the south. To the vastness" (p. 189).

(020) Castaneda, Carlos (1972). Journey to Ixtlan: The lessons of Don Juan. New York: Simon and Schuster.

West With The Night

After this era of great pilots is gone, as the era of great sea captains has gone--each nudged aside by the march of inventive genius, by steel cogs and copper discs and hair-thin wires on white faces that are dumb, but speak--it will be found, I think, that all the science of flying has been captured in the breadth of an instrument board, but not the religion of it.

One day the stars will be as familiar to each man as the landmarks, the curves, and the hills on the road that leads to his door, and one day this will be an airborne life. But by then men will have forgotten how to fly; they will be passengers on machines whose conductors are carefully promoted to a familiarity with labelled [sic] buttons, and in whose minds knowledge of the sky and the wind and the way of weather will be extraneous as passing fiction. And the days of clipper ships will be recalled again--and people will wonder if clipper means ancients of the sea or ancients of the air (p. 166).

(021) Markham, Beryl (1942). West with the night. San Francisco: North Point Press.

2001: A Space Odyssey

On Earth, the glaciers came and went, while above them the changeless Moon still carried its secret. With a yet slower rhythm than the polar ice, the tides of civilization ebbed and flowed across the galaxy. Strange and beautiful and terrible empires rose and fell, and passed on their knowledge to their successors. Earth was not forgotten, but another visit would serve little purpose. It was one of a million silent worlds, few of which would ever speak.

And now, out among the stars, evolution was driving toward new goals. The first explorers of Earth had long since come to the limits of flesh and blood; as soon as their machines were better than their bodies, it was time to move. First their brains, and then their thoughts alone, they transferred into shining new homes of metal and plastic.

In these, they roamed among the stars. They no longer built spaceships. They were spaceships.

But the age of the Machine-entities swiftly passed. In their ceaseless experimenting, they had learned to store knowledge in the structure of space itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. They could become creatures of radiation, free at last from the tyranny of matter.

Into pure energy, therefore, they presently transformed themselves; and on a thousand worlds, the empty shells they had discarded twitched for a while in a mindless dance of death, then crumbled into dust (pp. 185-186).

(022) Clark, Arthur C. (1968). 2001: A space odyssey. New York: A Signet Book.

Moths to the Flame

The dance started with copying. Some molecules floating in the seas roughly 3,500 million years ago stumbled on the trick of copying themselves. Once they did, they multiplied until there was no more food for new copies. Resources are always limited. So, soon after copying started, competition started. Millions of years passed.

Through tiny copying errors accumulating over many generations, the structure of those self-copying molecules eventually diverged. Some of those variants were just a bit better at surviving than others...Millions of years passed....

Today, some of the brains have grown so complex that they've almost taken over from their original self-copiers--the genes. Willy-nilly, we are reshaping our genes (our progenitors) for our own purposes. One day, our artificial progeny, driven into existence by the unceasing competition and moving at near the speed of light, may take over from their own progenitors--us.

Our world is getting ready to change again. Once again, life, that endless dance of adaptation to the universe and to itself, is about to change all the rules. It's gathering itself for a great leap in intelligence, and the consequences for our species are likely to be extreme (pp. 155-156).

(023) Rawlins, Gregory J. E. (1996). Moths to the flame: The seductions of computer technology. Cambridge, MA: A Bradford Book.


is finding out
what you already know.

Doing is demonstrating that
you know it.

Teaching is reminding others
that they know just as well as you.

You are all learners,
teachers (p. 46).

*(024) Bach, Richard (1977). Illusions: The adventures of a reluctant Messiah. New York: Delacorte Press.


There is no reason for flying aerobatics; if you really want to, without knowing exactly why, and you are prepared to really work and to explore this exciting sport, you've been bitten. It is rather like a drug, the more you indulge, the greater is the attraction. But unlike a drug, there are no grey areas, only black or white. A famous Czechoslovakian pilot once said "You cannot lie to yourself in aerobatics" -- here self discipline must reign supreme. Perhaps the most important thing that you will learn is the truth -- pleasant or otherwise -- about yourself (p. 14).

(025) Williams, Neil (1975). Aerobatics. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Racing Through Paradise

Now we were fizzing through the water, often at 11 knots. The rains had flattened the seas so that our progress was unimpeded by waves. The ship's lights cast a circular aura on the water around us. All was white and hissing.

The rain cut into the eyes, but it was necessary to keep the wind vane in sight at all times. The lightning, which had begun just before the rain hit us, was now directly overhead, and regular. At one point I looked up at the masthead from the compass just as a gorgeous crack of lightning stitched across the sky. For two seconds I could not see. It's a curious Old Testament feeling, being blinded by lightning: a sense of retribution, awful judgment, awful punishment. Well, it wasn't all that dramatic, but it kept lighting up the tableau around us, throwing everything into stark, hot, instantaneous relief: a sailboat plowing through a wild-ocean storm as fast as she could go (pp. 249-250).

*(026) Buckley, William F. (1987). Racing through paradise: A Pacific passage. New York: Random House.

Bring On the Empty Horses

Bogie one day was reminiscing on how great a part luck had played in his early days at Warner Brothers; he reminded me yet again that he had played The Petrified Forest only because of Leslie Howard's determination and added that he had got the The Maltese Falcon only because George Raft had turned it down and High Sierra had come his way because Paul Muni had huffily refused it on the grounds that it had first been offered to George Raft. "But that's the way the piss pot cracks," he said.

I couldn't resist it, as I had been husbanding the dangerous morsel for years. "Now I'll tell you how you got an Oscar for The African Queen in 1951," I said.

"Please do," said Bogie with chilling calm.

"Because Bette Davis turned it down!" I announced smuggly.

When the explosion died away, I told him more (p. 247).

(027) Niven, David (1975). Bring on the empty horses. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

She answered, 'Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man' (p. 102).

(028) Sanders, N. K. (1960). The epic of Gilgamesh. Middlesex, England: Penquin Books.

The Painted Bird

Every morning we were awakened by the whistle of the train which passed close by, bringing peasants to the city with their produce for the market....

On sunny days the Silent One and I walked along the track, over the sun-warmed crossties and the sharp pebbles which hurt our bare feet. Sometimes, if there were enough boys and girls from nearby settlements playing close to the tracks, we would put on a show for them. A few minutes before the arrival of the train I would lie down between the tracks, face down, arms folded over my head, my body as flat as possible. The Silent One would assemble an audience while I waited patiently. As the train was approaching, I could hear and feel the thudding roar of the wheels through the rails and ties until I was shaking with them. When the locomotive was almost on tip of me I flattened even more, and tired not to think. The hot breath of the furnace swept over me and the great engine rolled furiously over my back. Then the carriages rattled rhythmically in a long line, as I waited for the last one to pass....

Despite these grim recollections, there was something immensely attractive about lying between the rails with a train running above. In the moments between the passing of the locomotive and the last car I felt within me life in a form as pure as milk carefully strained through a cloth. During the short time when the carriages roared over one's body, nothing mattered except the simple fact of being alive....

After the train had passed I would rise on trembling hands and weak legs and look around with greater satisfaction than I had ever experienced in exacting the most vicious revenge from one of my enemies (pp. 197-198).

(029) Kosinski, Jerry (1965). The painted bird. New York: Bantam Books.

Patton: A Genius For War

While the Allied brass pondered their next course of action, in Avranches, on highways, in rest areas and bivouacs, GIs everywhere learned what it meant to be in the Third Army. Patton was enthralled by the danger he faced each day. "We have been bombed, strafed, mortared, and shelled," wrote Codman, who noted that Patton seemed to thrive as never before. The afternoon of August 7 Patton returned to his command post along a particularly devastated stretch of highway choked with dust and littered with wrecked and destroyed German vehicles and horribly blackened corpses. Fires were burning in nearby fields, which were strewn with dead, swollen farm animals. Half turning in his seat, Patton shouted: "Just look at that, Codman. Could anything be more magnificent?"

At that moment their vehicle passed an artillery battery firing an ear-shattering salvo, and Codman leaned forward to hear Patton say, "Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance." His voice shaking with emotion, Patton concluded: "God, how I love it" (p. 634).

*(030) D'Este, Carlo (1995). Patton: A genius for war. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers.

The Myth of Sisyphus

All Sisyphus' silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is his thing...At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning toward his rock, in that slight pivoting he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which becomes his fate, created by him, combined under his memory's eye and soon sealed by his death...

I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again (p. 91).

(031) Camus, Albert (1955). The myth of Sisyphus (J. O'Brien, Trans.). New York: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1942)

The Wind and Beyond

The most immediate payoff from astronautics lies in telecommunications and this I think will continue to make the greatest strides in the coming years. It seems that with present technology we can put up a number of earth satellites to handle the entire world's telephone and telegraph system. The most efficient arrangement is to put up satellites with twenty-four-hour periods, so that the satellite makes its orbit at the same time as does the earth. This has the advantage of having a satellite stay in one spot in the heavens. I am sure that in the following years many plans will emerge from which a practical arrangement will be selected (p.346).

(032) von Karman, Theodore (1967). The wind and beyond. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

Stranger to the Ground

I study the flight handbook as a divinity student studies the Bible. And as he goes back time and again to Psalms, so I go back time and again to the red-bordered pages of Section III. Engine fire on takeoff; after takeoff; at altitude. Loss of oil pressure. Severe engine vibration, Smoke in the cockpit. Loss of hydraulic pressure. Electrical failure. This procedure is the best to be done, this one is not recommended (p. 115).

(033) Bach, Richard (1963). Stranger to the ground. New York: Avon.

The Brothers Karamazov

'This is rebellion,' Alyosha said softly, dropping his eyes.

'Rebellion? I'm sorry to hear you say that,' Ivan said with feeling. 'One can't go on living in a state of rebellion, and I want to live. Tell me frankly, I appeal to you -- answer me: imagine that it is you yourself who are erecting the edifice of human destiny with the aim of making men happy in the end, of giving them peace and contentment at last, but that to do that it is absolutely necessary, and indeed quite inevitable, to torture to death only one tiny creature, the little girl who beat her breast with her little fist, and to found the edifice on her unavenged tears -- would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me and do not lie!'

'No, I wouldn't,' Alyosha said softly (pp. 287-288).

(034) Dostoyevsky, Fyodor (1958). The brothers Karamazov (D. Magarshack, Trans.). Middlesex, England: Penquin Books.

Jesus of Nazareth

The future of God is salvation to the man who apprehends the present as God's present, and as the hour of salvation. The future of God is judgment for the man who does not accept the "now" of God but clings to his own present, his won past and also to his own dreams of the future. We might say with Schiller: "What we have denied the moment, eternity will never give back." Only here it applies in a new and fulfilled sense. In this acceptance of the present as the present of God, as we have tried to make clear, pardon and conversion are one in the works of Jesus.

God's future is God's call to the present, and the present is the time of decision in the light of God's future. This is the direction of Jesus' message. Over and over again, therefore, we hear the exhortation: "Take heed, watch" (Mk. xiii. 33-37; cf: 5, 9, 23, etc.). This "take heed to yourselves" (Mk. xiii. 9) stands in marked contrast to all curious questioning. Therefore, whose very words of Jesus which refer to the future are not meant to be understood as apocalyptic instruction, but rather as eschatological promise...(p. 93).

(035) Bornkamm, Gunther (1960). Jesus of Nazareth (I. McLuskey & F. McLuskey, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. (Original work published 1956)

On Killing

Generations of Americans have endured great physical and psychological trauma and horror in order to give us our freedoms. Men such as those quoted in this study followed Washington, stood shoulder to shoulder with Crockett and Travis at the Alamo, righted the great wrong of slavery, and stopped the murderous evil of Hitler. They answered their nation's call and heeded not the cost. As a soldier for my entire adult life, I take pride in having maintained in some small way the standard of sacrifice and dedication represented by these men. And I would not harm them or besmirch their memory and honor. Douglas MacArthur said it well: "However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind" (p. xxiv).

(036) Grossman, Dave (1995). On killing: The psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.


Who knows when princes And their soldiers, the bravest and strongest of men,

Are destined to die, their time ended, Their homes, their halls empty and still?

So Beowulf sought out the dragon, dared it Into battle, but could never know what God

Had decreed, or that death would come to him, or why (p. 118).

(037) Beowulf (B. Raffel, Trans.).(1963). New York: A Mentor Book.

The Canterbury Tales

Destiny, the great executor, which carries out all over the world the providence which God has foreseen, is so strong that no matter whether the world wishes a thing or not, that thing will occur on the appointed day, though it will not happen again in a thousand years. For, truly, our desires on earth, whether war, peace, hate, or love, are arranged by some heavenly vision (p. 32).

(038) Chaucer, Geoffrey (1948). The Canterbury tales (R. M. Lumiansky, Trans.). New York: Washington Square Press.



How will you get away from here? Where are your carriage, groom and steed?


I rather travel through the air: We spread this cloak -- that's all we need.

But on this somewhat daring flight, Be sure to keep your luggage light.

A little fiery air, which I plan to prepare, Will raise us swiftly off the earth;

With ballast we'll go up fast -- Congratulations, friend, on your rebirth! (p. 209)


Was geht dich's an? (What's that to you?


Hab ich doch meine Freude dran! (I have my pleasure in it too.) (p. 335).

(039) Goethe (1961).Faust (W. Kaufmann, Trans.). Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.

This Kind of War

As the U.N. withdrew, its stored hills--scabrous Baldy, torn Pork Chop, Bloody, Heartbreak, Sniper,...and a hundred more--drenched in blood, hallowed by human courage, were abandoned....

With another spring, or perhaps two, the pine and forsythia and wild plum might grow on them once more, thrusting upward green and fresh from the rusting rubble of wire, shards of shells, and moldering bones.

Except by the men who fought on them, they would be soon forgotten....

The Korean War, never declared, never ended.

More than two million human beings had died, forty thousand of them American soldiers and airmen, in what was s skirmish, nothing more. Nothing had been won, nothing gained--except that the far frontier had been held.

At a great price, a little time had been bought. The free peoples of the world might use it badly or well, as they saw fit (p. 451).

(040) Fehrenbach, T. R. (1963). This kind of war: The classic Korean war history. Washington, DC: Brassey's.

The Courage to Be

The threat of nonbeing to man's ontic self-affirmation is absolute in the threat of death, relative in the threat of fate. But the relative threat is a threat only because in its background stands the absolute threat. Fate would not produce inescapable anxiety without death behind it. And death stands behind fate and its contingencies not only in the last moment when one is thrown out of existence but in every moment within existence. Nonbeing is omnipresent and produces anxiety even where an immediate threat of death is absent (p. 45).

(041) Tillich, Paul (1952). The courage to be. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

The Hunters

"This is one time when there'll be MIGs enough for everybody. When you see them, go after them; and when you get close, put that pipper on them and keep it there. Hold down that trigger as long as you're hitting them. I don't want to hear about any goddamned damages when we come back. I want to hear about kills. Nothing but kills. Remember that." He paused. "You can take a look around you right now, because there'll probably be some empty seats here tomorrow. Just make sure it isn't you.

"All right. Let's get them!" (p. 207)

There were no other values. It was like money: it did not matter how it had been acquired, but only that it had. That was the final judgment. MIGs were everything... (p. 62).

(042) Salter, James (1956). The hunters. New York: Vintage Books.

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!

I do not mean to imply by this that a man can determine just what his world or his life will be like. A man, after all, is only a man. He stands somewhere between absolute freedom on the one hand, and total helplessness on the other. All of his important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data. It is enough if a man accepts his freedom, takes his best shot, does what he can, faces the consequences of his acts, and makes no excuses. It may not be fair that a man gets to have total responsibility for his own life without total control over it, but it seems to me that for good or for bad, that's just the way it is (p. 144).

(043) Kopp, Sheldon B. (1972). If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him! Ben Lomond, CA: Science and Behavior Books.

Evil and the Concept of God

So we shall formulate the riddle of God and evil in a tentative way and comment on its structure as we proceed. One version of the riddle is this: If God is unlimited in power and goodness, why is there so much prima facie gratuitous evil in the world? If he is unlimited in power he should be able to remove unnecessary evil, and if he is unlimited in goodness he should want to remove it; but he does not. Apparently he is limited either in power or goodness, or does not exist at all (p. 3).

(044) Madden, Edward H. & Hare, Peter H. (1968). Evil and the concept of God. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

The Last Lion

I speak to you for the first time as Prime Minister in a solemn hour for the life of our country...

Hitler knows that he will have to break us on this island or lose the war...

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years,

Men will say:

"This was their finest hour" (p. 681).

(045) Manchester, William (1978). The last Lion. New York: Laurel.

Don Quixote

"God's will be done," said Sancho. "I believe everything that your Grace says; but straighten yourself up in the saddle a little, for you seem to be slipping down on one side, owing, no doubt, to the shaking-up that you received in your fall."

"Ah, that is the truth," replied Don Quixote, "and if I do not speak of my sufferings, it is for the reason that it is not permitted knights-errant to complain of any wound whatsoever, even though their bowels may be dropping out" (pp. 112-113).

(046) Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1951). Don Quixote: The ingenious gentleman, Don Quixote de la Mancha, in The Portable Cervantes (S. Putman, Trans. and Ed.). New York: Viking Press.


Down to a sunless sea...

She was swallowing too much salt water: it increased her thirst, but it was hard to time her breathing to avoid whitecaps she could not even see. Fits of trembling shook her, would pass, and would grab her again. Her jacket was growing less buoyant. She thought of slipping it off and supporting herself on the jug alone. But when she fumbled with the zipper, her fingers were too cold to work, and she was afraid that if the jug somehow slipped from her hands, she would never find it again. The whistle was tied to the jacket, too; she must not let the whistle slip away.

If the jacket began actually to drag her down, she had no idea what she'd do (p. 127).

(047) Searls, Hank (1977). Overboard. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

The Shepherd

He held station alongside me for a few seconds, down-moon of me, half invisible, then banked gently to the left. I followed, keeping formation with him, for he was obviously the shepherd sent up to bring me down, and he had the compass and the radio, not I. He swung through 180 degrees, then straightened up, flying straight and level, the moon behind him. From the position of the dying moon I knew we were heading back toward the Norfolk coast, and for the first time I could see him well. To my surprise, my shepherd was a De Havilland Mosquito, a fighter bomber of Second World War vintage (pp. 56-58).

(048) Forsyth, Frederick (1975). The shepherd. New York: The Viking Press.

The Flying Carpet

And so it happened that when the Flying Carpet first took to the air, Moye Stephens was at the controls. With him as pilot, the Carpet flew superbly. He made it loop, tumble, tail-spin, waltz, ride a bicycle and smoke cigars. We flew upside down. We located my house on the hilltop and tried to take the top brick off the chimney.

Moye's enthusiasm mounted with my own. Our confidence began to soar. We must have the world. We could have the world.

But not all at once -- some place had to be first. Where -- with such limitless horizons before us -- where should we begin?

(049) Halliburton, Richard (1932). The flying carpet. Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing Company.

The Spirit of St. Louis

I soon discovered that I was learning as much about flying as my students. A pilot doesn't understand the real limitations of his craft until he's instructed in it. Try as he may, he can never duplicate intentionally the plights that a student gets him into by accident. When you're flying yourself, you know in advance whether you're going to pull the stick back, push it forward, or cut the throttle. You think of a maneuver before you attempt it. But you're never sure what s student is going to do. He's likely to haul the nose up and cut the gun at the very moment when more speed is needed. If you check his errors too quickly, he loses confidence in his ability to fly. If you let them go too long, he'll crash you. You must learn the exact limits of your plane, and always keep him far enough within them so the wrong movement of a control will still leave you with the situation well in hand (pp. 278-279).

(050) Lindbergh, Charles A. (1953). The spirit of St. Louis. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Dereliction Of Duty

As American involvement in Vietnam deepened, the gap between the true nature of that commitment and the president's depiction of it to the American people, the Congress, and members of his own administration widened. Lyndon Johnson, with the assistance of Robert S. McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of staff, had set the stage for America's disaster in Vietnam (p. 322).

(051) McMaster, H. R. (1997). Dereliction of duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the lies that led to Vietnam. New York: HarperPerennial.

How To Read A Book

We do not want to state authoritatively that any particular book or group of books must be great for you, in this sense, although in our first Appendix we do list those books that experience has shown are capable of having this kind of value for many readers. Our point, instead, is that you should seek out the few books that can have this value for you. They are the books that will teach you the most, both about reading and about life. They are the books to which you will want to return over and over. They are the books that will help you to grow (p. 344).

(052) Adler, Mortimer J., & Van Doren, Charles (1972). How to read a book. New York: A Touchstone Book.

Heart of Darkness

This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I understand better the meaning of his stare, that could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up -- he had judged. "The horror!" He was a remarkable man (p. 72).

(053) Conrad, Joseph (1963). Heart of darkness. (Robert Kimbrough, Ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

The End of History and the Last Man.

The twentieth century, it is safe to say, has made all of us into deep historical pessimists (p. 3).

By putting self-preservation first of all things, the last man resembles the slave in Hegel's bloody battle that began history. But the last man's situation is made worse as a result of the entire historical process that has ensued since that time, the complex cumulative evolution of human society toward democracy. For according to Nietzsche, a living thing cannot be healthy, strong, or productive except by living within a certain horizon, that is, a set of values and beliefs that are accepted absolutely and uncritically. "No artist will paint his picture, no general win his victory, no nation its freedom," without such a horizon, without loving the work that they do "infinitely more than it deserves to be loved" (p. 306).

(054) Fukuyama, Francis (1992). The end of history and the last man. New York: The Free Press.

Rogue Warrior

Today you could sit in a fighter, press a missile launch button, and kill an enemy twenty, thirty, forty miles over the horizon, watching his plane explode on a TV screen, just like the video games my kids played.

And yet, what it really came down to, after all the bullshit and the computers and the video, was the very basic question embodied by the bullet in my hand. Could one of my men look another human being in the eyes, then pull the trigger and kill that person without hesitating for an instant?

In Vietnam, I'd discovered who could kill and couldn't in combat. But that was fifteen years ago, and less than half of SEAL Team Six had ever been in combat. So there was only one way to find out who'd pull the trigger, and who'd freeze -- which was to play this thing out and see who did his job and who didn't. War, after all, is not Nintendo. War is not about technology or toys. War is about killing (p. 15).

(055) Marcinko, Richard & Weisman, John (1992). Rogue warrior. New York: Pocket Books.


He turned and lowered his bow so that it lay horizontally in front of him and he laid the arrow across the stave and trapped the shaft with his left thumb as he engaged the cord. He swung the long bow upright as his right hand took the arrow's fledged end and drew it back with the cord.

"We're not to shoot," one of the archers said. "Don't waste an arrow!" another put in. The cord was at Hook's right ear. His eyes searched the smoke-shrouded ground outside the town and he saw a crossbowman step from behind a pavise decorated with the symbol of crossed axes.

"You can't shoot as far as they can," the first archer warned him. But Hook had learned the bow from childhood...he had taught himself that a man did not aim with the eye, but with the mind. You saw, and then you willed the arrow...You don't aim a bow. You think where the arrow will go, and it goes." Hook released.

"You goddam fool," an archer said, and Hook watched the white goose feathers flicker in the white-hazed air and saw the arrow fall faster than a stooping hawk. Steel-tipped, silk-bound, ash-shafted, feathered death flying in the evening's quiet.

"Good God," the first archer said quietly...

Hook's arrow pierced his throat...he thrashed on the ground...and above him the sky was red now...lit by fires and glowing with the sun's daily death.

That, Hook thought, had been a good arrow. Straight-shafted and properly fledged with its feathers all plucked from the same goose-wing. It had flown true. It had gone where he willed it, and he had killed a man in battle. He could, at last, call himself an archer (pp. 49-50).

*(056) Cornwell, Bernard (2009). Agincourt. New York: HarperCollins.

Point of Impact

"Now, Bob Lee," Bob could remember him saying, "Now, Bob Lee, rifle's only as good as the man using it. You use it well, it'll stand by you come heaven or hell. You treat it mean and rotten like an ugly dog, or ignore it like a woman who complains too much, and by God it'll find a way to betray you. Hell hath no fury, the good book says, like a rifle scorned. Well, the good book don't say that exactly, but it could, Bob Lee, you hear me?"

Bob Lee nodded, swearing that he'd never mistreat a rifle, and these many years later, that was, he felt, the one claim he could make: he'd never let a rifle or his father down.

He looked down to the firing ground (p. 65).

(057) Hunter, Steven (1993). Point of impact. New York: Bantam Books.

The Crowded Sky

"Amarillo Center, this is Pacific Central Seven. Request we be allowed to maintain two-zero-thousand for passenger comfort. Over..." (p. 228).

"Amarillo...Navy Jet Three-Two-Five-Five. Leaving two-three-thousand...descend to cross Sayre...two-zero-thousand...standard instrument penetration...landing Clark-Chennault..." (p. 229).

...Norm found himself leaping for the headset, his pulse pounding, but his voice was calm and clear in his ears (p. 230).

"Navy Jet Three-Two-Five-Five, Amarillo Center. Do not descend! There's westbound traffic at two-zero-thousand. I say again, there is westbound traffic at two-zero-thousand. Climb immediately to two-three-thousand. Acknowledge. Over."

He waited only a moment for an answer he knew he'd not get, then flicked to V.H.F. "Pacific Central Seven, this is Amarillo Center. Descend immediately to one-eight-thousand. I say again, descend immediately to eighteen thousand feet. Report leaving two-zero-thousand. There is jet traffic letting down to your altitude!"

He hardly waited for the roger before he switched back to emergency, fear tearing through him. He broadcast blindly again to the Navy jet, then swung around to the scope...

The two pips were inching ominously closer. The Center was suddenly still.

Dry-lipped and shaking, Norm stared at the radar and waited (p. 230).

(058) Searls, Hank (1960). The crowded sky. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers.

Anvil of the Gods

Fifteen minutes after the take-off, the aircraft was in the grip of a blinding thunderstorm. A witness saw it enter a light spot and disappear in the storm. One mile beyond this, its smoldering wreckage was observed. Witnesses saw it bounce 500 feet upward after being dashed to the ground in hail showers and violent wind. After this bouncing, it mushed into a sodden farm field, ten miles west of Mason City, Iowa.

Miraculously, the DC-3 did not catch on fire and explode. As a result, only eleven persons died. Investigation by the CAB showed the aircraft struck the ground in a level attitude. Interrogation of witnesses revealed that it had been as low as 400 feet over the terrain when the pilot sought to go into the light area beneath the storm. But the violent downdrafts, associated with all thunderstorms, probably caught the aircraft and literally dashed it into the ground (pp. 176-177).

(059) McClement, Fred (1964). Anvil of the gods. Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott Company.

Run Silent, Run Deep

"Ready to shoot, Captain!" said Keith. He had anticipated everything. All I had to do was give the word.

"We'll wait while the situation improves," I said. This smacked of something Bungo might pull. I kept looking for the destroyer, couldn't find him. But something else caught my eye, astern. Low and bulky. Not a tincan. My heart leaped into my throat -- a submarine! Coming along astern of the Q-ship!

"Rig for silent running! Six-oh feet!" This would barely let me see over the tops of the waves, if I could see at all for long. I could feel sweat on my face around my eyes inside the rubber eye-guards, didn't dare take them away. "Boys, this is it! I think Bungo is on his way out to look for us!" (pp. 299-300).

(060) Beach, Edward L. (1955). Run silent, run deep. New York: Pocket Books.

View From the Cockpit

And, while she has been good for the industry, it has been good for her. Many the timid, unsure girl turned into a confident, sophisticated young woman able to handle herself and her passengers in any situation. Overnight she becomes a tough, bright, gutsy gal you can depend on when the chips are down. I watched it happen a hundred times. It is hard work with little glamor to it, and brutally fatiguing at times. Yet it usually brings out the best as hard work does. The coffee-tea-or-me fiction does not demean her but those who believe it.

An airline can spend enough millions to buy itself an image. As the sole company representative present when the service is delivered, a hostess can confirm or destroy that image in the first minutes of flight. For a certain combination of girl, the job can be the right combination of challenges.

We attended the ceremony and sat through the speeches. Terry and I pinned on her wings. Margaret beamed. We were the first flying father-son-daughter team in Braniff Airways' history.

I remember thinking, "Welcome aboard, Kathy" (pp. 54-55).

(061) Morgan, Len (1985). View from the cockpit. Manhattan, KS: Sunflower University Press.

Christ and Culture

For the Jesus who is radically obedient knows that the will of God is the will of the Creator and Governor of all nature and of all history; that there is structure and content in His will; that He is the author of the ten commandments; that He demands mercy and not sacrifice; that He requires not only obedience to Himself but love and faith in Him, and love of the neighbor whom He creates and loves. This Jesus is radically obedient; but he also knows that love and faith alone make obedience possible, and that God is the bestower of all these gifts. His obedience is a relation to a God who is much more than an "Unconditioned," met in the moment of decision; its radical character is therefore not something that lies in itself, or something that is separable from radical love and hope and faith. It is the obedience of a Son whose son ship is not definable as just obedience to a principle that constrains obedience (pp. 24-25).

(062) Niebuhr, Richard H. (1951). Christ and culture. New York: Harper Torchbooks.

Fear And Trembling

It is now my intention to draw out from the story of Abraham the dialectical consequences inherent in it, expressing them in the form of problemata, in order to see what a tremendous paradox faith is, a paradox which is capable of transforming a murder into a holy act well-pleasing to God, a paradox which gives Isaac back to Abraham, which no thought can master, because faith begins precisely there where thinking leaves off (p. 64).

(063) Kierkegaard, Søren (1941). Fear and trembling and the sickness unto death (W. Lowrie, Trans.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Wind, Sand and Stars

Gone was the feeble spark of humanity. And while in the man's throat there was brewing that shriek which I know not what deferred, he had the leisure to reflect that it was not those lips he had loved but their pout, not them but their smile. Not those eyes, but their glance. Not that breast, but its gentle swell. He was free to discover at last the source of the anguish love had been storing up for him, to learn that it was the unattainable he had been pursuing. What he had yearned to embrace was not the flesh but a downy spirit, a spark, the impalpable angel that inhabits the flesh (p. 191).

(064) Saint-Exupéry, de Antoine (1939). Wind, sand and stars (L. Galantière, Trans.). New York: Time Life Books.

Future Shock

One of the most striking statements of this theme has come from Kenneth Boulding, an eminent economist and imaginative social thinker. In justifying his view that the present moment represents a crucial turning point in human history, Boulding observes that "as far as many statistical series related to activities of mankind are concerned, the date that divides human history into two equal parts is well within living memory." In effect, our century represents The Great Median Strip running down the center of human history. Thus he asserts, "The world today...is as different from the world in which I was born as that world was from Julius Caesar's. I was born in the middle of human history, to date, roughly. Almost as much has happened since I was born as happened before."

This startling statement can be illustrated in a number of ways. It has been observed, for example, that if the last 50,000 years of man's existence were divided into lifetimes of approximately sixty-two years each, there have been about 800 such lifetimes. Of these 800, fully 650 were spent in caves.

Only during the last seventy lifetimes has it been possible to communicate effectively from one lifetime to another -- as writing made it possible to do. Only during the last six lifetimes did masses of men ever see a printed word. Only during the last four has it been possible to measure time with any precision. Only in the last two has anyone anywhere used an electric motor. And the overwhelming majority of all the material goods we use in daily life today have been developed within the present, the 800th, lifetime (pp. 13-14).

(065) Toffler, Alvin (1970). Future shock. New York: Bantam Books.

The Original Sin

Robert Edmund Jones, the great set designer, once wrote that only a bad actor wonders where his light is; a good actor carries his light inside him. Jack carried the light inside him. Life had not been kind to him because he had no faith. This man who was adulated, who was worshiped by millions of women, who had the greatest talent, believed in nothing. He didn't believe in love and yet he yearned for love; I never saw a man in my life need love as much as that man. He was capable of giving it but he was not capable of receiving. I sometimes wonder if the Greeks translated the Hebrew script correctly when they wrote: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." The ability to receive gracefully is rare. The inability to accept love is to me the original sin, sadder than all others (p. 287).

(066) Quinn, Anthony (1972). The original sin, a self-portrait. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

Twelve O'Clock High

"Thats what you want. A cozy berth where you can sit out the war, preferably with a combat unit, where you can steal fake glory. But I'm not going to pass the buck." He stopped directly in front of Gately. "You are going to stay right here. Where I can show you how much worse I hate you than a goddam Nazi -- because you're supposed to be on our side. I'm going to burn you a new butt! I'm going to make you lay square eggs! I'm going to hold your head down in the mud and trample it. I'm going to make you wish you had never been born!"

Spotty color had returned to Gately's cheeks. He was shaking all over. Never in his life and anyone talked to him remotely like this, nor had he ever experienced the scalding sensation produced by the venom in each of Savage's words. But Savage was not through, although he returned to his desk and sat down.

"Meanwhile," he said, "you're going to do a lot of flying, Gately. You're going to make every mission until further notice. You're an airplane commander now, not air exec. I'm going to give you an airplane and I want you paint this name on the nose: Leper Colony. I'm going to handpick you a special crew. Men who have shown a predisposition for head colds and earaches. You're going to get a co-pilot who's all thumbs, a bombardier who can't hit his plate with his fork and a navigator who can't find his own navel." He paused. "Have you anything to say?"

(067)Lay, Beirne & Bartlett, Sy (1948). 12 o'clock high. New York: Ballantine Books.

A Terrible Glory

Come on. Big village.
Be quick. Bring pack.
W. W. Cooke
PS bring pacs. (p. 257).

Custer took a shot in his left breast that knocked him back. He dropped his rifle and drew his English bulldog pistols. Many of the men around him were dead when another bullet smashed into his left temple and killed him instantly (p. 276).

As it happened on other parts of the field, some of the soldiers killed themselves just to get it over with. No white man wanted to be alive when he fell into the hands of Indians (p. 277).

One of Benteen's troopers motioned him over to a group of bodies. The Captain rode over. On the flat crest at the far end of the ridge lay Custer, naked, leaning in a half-sitting position against two soldiers beneath him. His face wore a peaceful expression -- "He looked as natural as if sleeping," remembered one officer -- and his body bore two gunshot wounds, one to his left temple and the other near his left breast.

His right thigh had received the customary Sioux slash. He had not been scalped, probably because his recently trimmed hair was too short. Under his body and around him were about twenty cartridge shells, at least some of them brass casings from Remington sporting rifle. An arrow had been stuck into his penis (p. 308).

*(068) Donovan, James (2008). A terrible glory: Custer and the Little Big Horn. New York: Back Bay Books.

D-Day, June 6, 1944

The German defenders had inflicted very heavy casualties on the assaulting force at Omaha Beach. V Corps suffered 2,400 dead, wounded, and missing in putting 34,000 troops of the 55,000 man assault force ashore. Losses of 7.2 percent in one day are horrendous, but that was five percentage points less than anticipated (pp. 467-468).

At Omaha, one in nineteen of the men landed on D-Day became casualties (nearly 40,000 went ashore: there were 2,200 casualties). At Juno, one in eighteen were killed or wounded (21,400 landed: 1,200 were casualties). The figures are misleading in the sense that most men landed in the late morning or afternoon at both beaches, but a majority of the casualties were taken in the first hour (p. 541).

Company A had hardly fired a weapon. Almost certainly it had not killed any Germans. It had expected to move up the Vierville draw and be on top of the bluff by 0730, but at 0730 its handful of survivors were huddled up against the seawall, virtually without weapons. It had lost 96 percent of its effective strength (p.331).

(069) Ambrose, Steven E. (1994). D-Day, June 6, 1944: The climactic battle of World War II. New York: A Touchstone Book.

Belly Up

"There was an electricity in the air," Oklahoma City Attorney M. C. Kratz said wistfully, recalling a brief but exhilarating period in Oklahoma history. It was the electricity generated by a lot of people making a lot of money or, more accurately, by a lot of money changing hands very quickly.

By early 1980 it was clear to even the dullest observer that Oklahoma was in the throes of a classic oil and gas boom. One Oklahoma City lawyer knew something had changed when he didn't see his lawyer friends in the courthouse anymore, "I saw them on the street in blue jeans and cowboy boots and asked, 'Are you a cowboy or a truck driver?'

"They'd say, 'I'm doing some oil deals.'"

"You could see it on Interstate 40," said Murray Cohen, a short and stocky transplanted New Yorker who found his way to Oklahoma in the 1940s, studied law at the university, and now specializes in rescuing troubled companies. "I'd drive out to Elk City at sixty-two mph and would almost be run over by trucks running pipe out to the oil fields." And then there were the bumper stickers that said, "Oilfield Trash and Proud of It," and "Please Don't Tell My Mother I'm Working in the Oil Patch. She thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse" (p. 111).

(070) Zweig, Phillip L. (1985). Belly up: The collapse of the Penn Square Bank. New York: A Fawcett Columbine Book.

The Probable Cause

In a smaller pile were the effects from the cockpit. The Viscount's operating manual, flipped open to a page on the electrical system. A pilot's earphones. An instruction book for operating radar.

The cabin seats in the adjoining room were badly broken and twisted. But only two bore fire marks. One had stains that looked like blood. (It was.)

A CAB man picked up an ash tray from one of the seats.

"I've never seen so many small pieces in rubble," he said. "The ash trays are about the only undamaged thing we found."

A Capital pilot looked at the scene for a few moments, shook his head in disbelief, and walked outside for a breath of air.

"I don't know what they'll come up with," he said, "but all I can think is that God must have goofed" (p. 26).

(071) Serling, Robert J. (1962). The probable cause. New York: Ballantine Books.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

There was a cold moon at the window, pouring light into the dorm like skim milk. I sat up in bed, and my shadow fell across the body, seeming to cleave it in half between the hips and the shoulders, leaving only a black space. The swelling had gone down enough in the eyes that they were open; they stared into the full light of the moon, open and undreaming, glazed from being open so long without blinking until they were like smudged fuses in a fuse box. I moved to pick up the pillow, and the eyes fastened on the movement and followed me as I stood up and crossed the few feet between the beds (p. 270).

(072) Kesey, Ken (1962). One flew over the cuckoo's nest. New York: A Signet Book.

Childhood's End

"All the earlier changes your race has known took countless ages. But this is a transformation of the mind, not of the body. By the standards of evolution, it will be cataclysmic--instantaneous. It has already begun. You must face the fact that yours is the last generation of Homo sapiens.

"As to the nature of that change, we can tell you very little. We do not know how it is produced--what trigger impulse the Overmind employs when it judges that the time is ripe. All we have discovered is that it starts with a single individual --always a child--and then spreads explosively, like the formation of crystals round the first nucleus in a saturated solution. Adults will not be affected, for their minds are already set in an unalterable mould (p. 184).

(073) Clarke, Arthur C. (1953). Childhood's end. New York: Ballantine Books.

The Rape of the A.P.E.

There came one instant during the Courtship Ritual when the girl must reveal her true feelings. It came at a moment when she was actually weak from protesting her reluctance. Her cries of No! No! gave way to whimperings, and she was silent, sullenly letting you go on about your evil business. Now you slip off her clothing one piece at a time and you fondle her. She does not respond, but you must not be discouraged. You must continue until you have removed every item of her clothing but one.

Now comes her Moment of Truth. In the silence, and ever so gently, you tug at her underpants. Voilà!

There is a brief but telling instant when a boy is taking off a girl's underpants, during which she must give her assistance; if she doesn't lift her behind a split second, it is impossible (p. 63).

(074) Sherman, Allan (1973). The rape of the A*merican P*uritan E*thic: The official history of the sex revolution. Chicago: Playboy Press.

Marine Sniper

As they cautiously walked to the forest's edge and peered from behind its dense cover, Hathcock scrambled to where the body lay and snatched the rifle. He turned to retreat quickly when he noticed a broad, white feather, three inches long, lying at his feet. The sight of it reminded him of the white sea birds that he watched fly over this valley at sunrise.

He knelt and took the delicate plume in his left hand, and without another pause, stepped rapidly behind the jungle's green curtain.

As the trio of men made their way to the rally point, Hathcock twirled the feather between his fingers and thought again of the peaceful dawn and the white birds...And in the same respect that hundreds of Marines and soldiers would occasionally wear a small flower on their helmets, representing a simple beauty that still survived in the midst of war's thorns and fires, he took his bush hat from his head and inserted the feather into its band (p. 107).

(075) Henderson, Charles (1986). Marine sniper: 93 confirmed kills. New York: Berkley Books.

A Hostage to Fortune

Wearied of literary invention I now proposed to write a nonfiction book using my career as a pilot of the line as a framework upon which I could hang numerous portraits of those great characters who had been my comrades and mentors. To avoid fictionalizing, I resolved to rely strictly on the logbooks which detailed my working hours aloft, and I found it surprisingly easy to recall most flights as they had actually been. The people involved once more came to life until they seemed passing visitors to the chalet. Then one day I realized how many of them had perished in the line of duty and how often I had experienced very narrow escapes. Why, I wondered, had others lost their lives while I, certainly no better a pilot, had survived to be writing in the middle of Norway?... Luck had obviously been in control, and the exploration of its power became the underlying theme of the book. I called it Fate Is the Hunter and had no idea it would become a classic in the aviation world if only because there had never been a similar treatment of the subject (pp. 540-541).

(076) Gann, Ernest K. (1978). A hostage to fortune. New York: Ballantine Books.

Gestapo Chief

Q - Did Hitler give you anything else when he left?

M - All that was in the briefcase were bundles of large denomination Swiss francs, a case with a very high order and a personal letter from Hitler thanking me for my loyalty and presenting me with this medal. It was the highest medal he could give.

Q - The Knight's Cross?

M - No, no, that was a military decoration. This was called the German Order and not even Göring or Himmler had it.

Q - Do you still have it?

M - I threw it into the lake. Of course I still have it and Hitler's letter as well. And his silver framed picture. Also I have some pictures of my family.

Q - Would it be possible to see the letter?

M - No. That's a personal matter.

Q - Did you contact any Gestapo agents while you were in Switzerland?

M - Perhaps.

Q - From the date you arrived in Switzerland, did you travel outside the country ever?

M - No, I preferred to be quiet and lead a peaceful life (p. 222).

(077) Douglas, Gregory (1995). Gestapo chief: The 1984 interrogation of Heinrich Müller (Vol. 1). San Jose, CA: R. James Bender Publishing.

A Matter of Accountability

Bucher stepped forward and identified himself as Pueblo's captain. "I still did not know what they intended to do," he remembers. "I considered it a strong probability that they intended to capture the ship, but I was not completely convinced of that" (p. 209).

(078) Armbrister, Trevor (1970). A matter of accountability: The true story of the Pueblo affair. New York: Coward-McCann.

The Gospel According to John

Bultmann, Dodd, and Blank are, we believe, correct in insisting that the main emphasis in the Gospel is on realized eschatology, for the Gospel proper was written in the period after the fall of Jerusalem when hopes of an immediate parousia quickly faded (p. CXX).

(079) Brown, Raymond E. (1966). The Gospel according to John. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company.

Officers in Flight Suits

In this book, the warrior spirit of fighter pilots like Risner will be defined as "flight suit attitude." Risner had that "indispensable ingredient" which enabled him to take risks others would not dream of taking. James Hagerstrom, a fellow ace from the Korean War, put it in simpler terms: "Robbie Risner had it!"

Flight suit attitude, in its basic form, was a sense of self-confidence and pride that verged on arrogance. For a flight suit officer, the aircraft of preference was the high-performance, single-seat fighter, although one could find him in almost any model. This culture placed a premium on cockiness and informality. A flight officer spent more time in a flight suit than in a uniform. In his world, status was based upon flying ability, not degrees, rank, or "officer" skills (p. 6).

(080) Sherwood, John D. (1996). Officers in flight suits: The story of American Air Force fighter pilots in the Korean war. New York: New York University Press.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

The man who founded the Third Reich, who ruled it ruthlessly and often with uncommon shrewdness, who led it to such dizzy heights and to such a sorry end, was a person of undoubted, if evil, genius. It is true that he found in the German people, a mysterious Providence and centuries of experience had molded them up to that time, a natural instrument which he was able to shape to his own sinister ends. But without Adolf Hitler, who was possessed of a demonic personality, a granite will, uncanny instincts, a cold ruthlessness, a remarkable intellect, a soaring imagination and -- until toward the end, when, drunk with power and success, he overreached himself -- an amazing capacity to size up people and situations, there almost certainly would never have been a Third Reich (pp. 5-6).

(081) Shirer, William L. (1960). The rise and fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Every Man a Tiger

The training of fighter pilots has always been dedicated to creating an individual capable of meeting an adversary in the sky who is flying an equally capable aircraft, and shooting him down. A pilot can't hold back or be timid. There is no room for self-doubt. He must know his limitations, but he must always believe that the better man will survive, and that man is him. When Chuck Horner was in the program, its unofficial title was "Every Man a Tiger," and the main emphasis, aside from flying and gunnery, was on the pilot's attitude and self-confidence (pp. 43-44).

(082) Clancy, Tom & Horner, Chuck (1999). Every man a tiger. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

The Saviors of God

That which interests me is not man, nor the earth, nor the heavens, but the flame which consumes man, earth, and sky. Russia does not interest me, but the flame which consumes Russia. Betterment of the fate of the masses or of the select, happiness, justice, virtue -- these are vulgar bait which cannot hook me. One thing only moves me; I seek it everywhere and follow it with my eyes, with fear and joy: the crimson line which pierces and passes through men, as through a necklace of skulls. I don't love anything else, but only this crimson line; my singular happiness is to feel it splitting my skull into fragments as it pierces and penetrates (p. 25).

(083) Kazantzakis, Nikos (1960). The saviors of God: Spritual exercises (K. Friar, Trans.). New York: Simon and Schuster.

That's My Story

The fellow who had walked out first was an Army officer. I said to him, "My name's Corrigan. I left New York yesterday morning headed for California, but got mixed up in the clouds and must have flown the wrong way." He said, "Yes, we know." Surprised, I asked him, "How come, how'd you find out?" He replied, "Oh, there was a small piece in the paper saying you might be flying over this way, and a few minutes ago we got a phone call from Belfast saying a plane with American markings had flown over and was headed down the coast" (p. 195).

(084) Corrigan, Douglas (1938). That's my story. New York: E. P. Dutton & Company.


It happened so fast that students never knew what happened. One minute they were in a perfect kill position, tight on Boyd's tail, pipper locked on his cockpit, and about to shout, "Guns! Guns! Guns!" into the radio. All they needed was sixteen frames of gun-camera film, the equivalent of a half-second burst, to have a kill. But as one student remembered, "All at once he did a double outside rat's ass and a two-toned trick fuck and I was a movie star. He had me in his gun camera."

Now it was Boyd behind the student, barking, "Guns! Guns! Guns!" Then there was raucous laughter and , "You just got hosed" (p. 86).


"Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road," he said. "And you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go." He raised his hand and pointed. "If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments." Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. "Or you can go that way and do something - something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference." He paused and stared into Leopold's eyes and heart. "To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?" (pp. 285-286).

*(085)Coram, Robert (2002). Boyd: The fighter pilot who changed the art of war. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.

Fighter Pilot

(p. 77).

The first day was spent being led around the base always accompanied by a junior officer. No way I'd be able to get away and explore on my own; too bad. It was easy to tell the place was pretty buttoned-up. It made me suspicious. A lot of hoopla was going on concurrent with my arrival building up to the homecoming football game against Army on November 4. It made it a bit easier to hide along the edges and watch. General Seith planned to introduce me to the Cadet Wing at a noon meal formation before the game. I chuckled as we entered Mitchell Hall between rows of cadets at attention wearing fake mustaches. Walking behind Ted I stared fiercely into the eyes of several cadets. These guys were already my kids. Above the banquet level on the staff tower he announced, "Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce your new commandant of cadets, Colonel Robin Olds."

I stepped forward to the railing, looked at the four thousand mustachioed faces, controlled my urge to smile, and said sternly, "If you don't beat Army tomorrow you haven't got a hair on your asses! I didn't want this job, but as long as I'm here, I'll do my best to enjoy it. I'm sure we'll get along fine!" And I gave the whole group a quick one-finger salute. That brought down the house.

For the rest of my time at the academy, that middle-digit salute was a shared joke among us. Over the years people asked me why I did it. Hell, it just seemed the right thing to do at the time.

I was a fighter pilot; they'd better get used to it (p. 354).

*(086) Olds, Robin (2010). Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs. New York: St. Martin's Press.

American Patriot

Col. Bud Day, MOH, POW, USMC, US Army, USAF

One Friday, Bud and Doris were in the recreation room at her house. A fire burned in the fireplace. They were playing ping pong when Bud said he was about to begin classes at Morningside. "Are you going Briar Cliff?" he asked.

"No. That's a Catholic college," she said with a smile. "And I'm Lutheran. Besides, I'm not in college."

Bud stopped and ignored the Ping-Pong ball that went sailing by. "Are you a senior in high school?" "No."

"Are you a junior?" "No."

He was flabbergasted. "My God. You are not a freshman?" She laughed. "No, I'm a sophomore."

Day put down his paddle and lit a cigarette. He smoked and paced, not saying a word...Now she was only a sophomore in high school. What would his friends say? He was a former Marine, about to turn twenty-one, and he was dating a sixteen-year-old girl.

He looked at her again. She looked twenty...Bud took a final puff from his cigarette, threw the butt into the fireplace, and said, "Oh, hell. What difference does it make?" (pp. 47-48).

Bud graduated from USAF Pilot Training September 1952 at Big Spring, Texas in class 62-F (p. 69).

"There is not enough luck in the world to attribute your survival to luck. You...survived...a...no-chute...bailout"..."God must be saving you for something special."

Day thought about all the times he had cheated death: the fire on takeoff at Moody, the near crash at Matagorda, the zero-zero landing in England, landing with three gallons of gas in France. And now the most improbable of all...Until he had performed his appointed task, he would be safe from all harm. But what was the task? (pp.96-97).

"You know, I thought the reason God saved my life so many times was so I could be in jail in Hanoi...I have one more mission before I die...To do everything I can to keep that traitor John Kerry from being elected" (p. 347).

(087) Coram, Robert (2007). American patriot: The life and wars of Colonel Bud Day. New York: Little, Brown.

Failure is Not an Option

"Okay, team, we have a hell of a problem. There has been some type of explosion on board the spacecraft. We still don't know what happened. We are on the long return around the Moon and it is our job to figure out how to get them home. From now on the White Team is off-line...we will return only for two major events. The first will be a maneuver, if we decide to do one, after we have passed the moon. The second will be the final reentry. The odds are damned long, but we're damned good."

"Listen up. When you leave this room, you must leave believing that this crew is coming home. I don't give a damn about the odds and I don't give a damn that we've never done anything like this before. Flight control will never lose an American in space. You've got to believe, your people have got to believe, that this crew is coming home. Now let's get going!" (pp. 320-321).

(088) Kranz, Gene (2000). Failure is not an option: Mission control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and beyond. New York: Simon.

Berlin Diary

1940 Berlin, August 26

We had our first big air-raid of the war last night...For the first time British bombers came directly over the city, and they dropped bombs...The Berliners are stunned...there was a pell-mell, frightened rush to the cellars by the five million people who live in this town (p. 486).

I was scheduled to speak at one a.m. As I've explained before in these notes, to get to the studio to broadcast we have to leave the building where we write our scripts and have them censored, and dash some two hundred yards through a blacked-out vacant lot to the sheds where the microphones are. As I stepped out of the building at five minutes to one, the light guns protecting the radio station began to fire away wildly. At this moment I heard a softer but much more ominous sound. It was like hail falling on a tin roof. You could hear it dropping through the trees and on the roofs of the sheds. It was shrapnel from the anti-aircraft guns. For the first time in my life I wished I had a steel helmet. There had always been something repellent to me about a German helmet, something symbolic of brute Germanic force.

At the front I had refused to put one on. Now I rather thought I could overcome my prejudice (pp. 487-488).

(089) Shirer, William L. (1941). Berlin Diary. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University.

Lonesome Dove

Call had scarcely spoken since the death of Deets, but the beauty of the high prairies, the abundance of game, the coolness of the mornings finally raised his spirits. It was plain that Jake Spoon, who had been wrong about most things, had been right about Montana. It was a cattleman's paradise, and they were the only cattlemen in it. The grassy plains seemed limitless, stretching north. It was stange that they had seen no Indians, though. Often he mentioned this to Augustus.

"Custer didn't see them either," Augustus pointed out. "Not till he was caught. Now that we're here, do you plan to stop, or will we just keep going north till we get into the polar bears?"

"I plan to stop, but not yet," Call said. "We ain't crossed the Yellowstone. I like the thought of having the first ranch north of the Yellowstone."

"But you ain't a rancher," Augustus said.

"I guess I am now."

"No, you're a fighter," Augustus said. "We should have left these damn cows down in Texas. You used them as an excuse to come up here, when you ain't interested in them and didn't need an excuse anyway. I think we oughta just give them to the Indians when the Indians show up."

"Give the Indians three thousand cattle?" Call said, amazed at the notions his friend had. "Why do that?"

"Because then we'd be shut of them," Augustus said. "We could follow our noses, for a change, instead of following their asses. Ain't you bored?"

"I don't think like you do," Call said. "They're ours. We got'em. I don't plan on giving them to anybody."

"I miss Texas and I miss whiskey," Augustus said. "Now here we are in Montana and there's no telling what will become of us." "Miles City's up here somewhere," Call said. "You can buy whiskey."

"Yes, but I'll have to drink it indoors," Augustus complained. "It's cool up here" (p. 830).

*(090) McMurtry, Larry (1985). Lonesome Dove. New York: Pocket Books.

Rifleman Dodd

Forester's Rifleman Dodd is the story of a resolute soldier of the green-jacketed 95th Rifle Brigade. He is left behind in 1808 when his regiment falls back before a French onslaught during the Peninsular War (p. i).

Rifleman Matthew Dodd went on up the hill. As soon as he was safe from immediate pursuit he sat down in the cover of a whin-bush to reload his rifle - reloading took so long that it was always advisable to do it in the first available moment of leisure, lest one should encounter danger call for instant use of the rifle. He took a cartridge from his pouch and bit the bullet - a half-inch sphere of lead - out of the paper container. He poured the powder into the barrel, all save a pinch which went into the priming pan, whose cover he carefully replaced. He folded the empty cartridge into a wad, which he pushed down the barrel on top of the charge with the ramrod which he took from its socket along the barrel. Then he spat the bullet into the muzzle...The blows of the mallet drove the bullet down the rifling until at least it rested safely on top of the wadding...Dodd went through all these operations mechanically.

Months and months of drill had been devoted to making him mechanically perfect in loading, so that he would not in a moment of excitement put the bullet in before the powder, or omit to prime, or fire the ramrod out along with the bullet, or make any other of the fifty mistakes to which recruits were prone (pp. 9 - 10).

(091) Forester, C. S. (2001). Rifleman Dodd. Charleston, SC: The Nautical & Aviation Publishing.

Reader and Writer

1956 Oklahoma A&M College - 26 September

This was my $3.50 text book for English 115. I do fondly remember my teacher Mrs. Byrom. Some of this was read then and all of it read 56 years later. The second time through I finally figured out where my life experiences were first learned.

"Forever is composed of Nows" (p. 150).

Mortimer J. Adler, How to Mark a Book

Sherwood Anderson, Brother Death

James Harvey Robinson, Four Kinds of Thinking

S. I. Hayakawa, Symbols

Walker Gibson, The Umpire

Dwight L. Bolinger, The Life and Death of Words

H. A. Overstreet, What We Read, See, and Hear

*(092) Hayford, Harrison & Vincent, Howard (1954). Reader and Writer. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

When Thunder Rolled

I hit the coast and start a climb to twenty thousand feet over the water, searching frantically for my flight. I have no radar and a sick airplane. My radio is still good, but if it fails I'll be hard pressed to find the post strike tanker. As I slow to subsonic, the condensation cloud abates and I can see the coastline to my right and dimly make out the built-up area of Haiphong Harbor. There, just to the right and a bit high. There they are. Three airplanes. It's Carbon. I push up the throttle. I close on the airplanes from behind, and then they turn in unison to the west, toward Haiphong. It's only then I can tell that they aren't 105s. They're MiG-21s, and I'm about to rejoin on the guys sent out to kill me.

It's a fighter pilot's dream but with a sick twist. I've got three enemy aircraft in front of me, unaware of my presence, but I've got a badly damaged airplane, I'm approaching minimum fuel, unsure of whether I'll be able to find the tanker, and I'm alone without any members of my flight nearby. The 105 isn't known as the world's greatest dog-fighter and if I open fire on one of these guys I'll have grabbed the proverbial tiger by the tail. Are the MiGs, even now, talking to their radar controller about the stupid American coming up behind them? Are they consciously dragging me closer to the coast where SAMs can shoot and the guns can handle the leftovers? I choose discretion over valor and bank away to the south, straining to look back over my right shoulder to see if the MiGs turn to follow.

I'm not being chased, and in a matter of minutes I can make out the tail-on silhouettes of my flight. I follow the radio channel changes and join up just short of the tanker. Richter has the lowest fuel so he's on the boom first. Mitchell calls for him to take a full internal load because he wants to go truck hunting in Route Pak I before we go home. I curse him one more time.

*(093) Rasimus, Ed (2003). When thunder rolled. New York: Ballantine Books.

Palace Cobra

I told of my first combat tour (1966) in When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot Over North Vietnam... This is the story of my return to combat in the summer of 1972, once again at Korat and once again flying to the same heavily defended targets in Route Pack VI, the valley of the Red River in and around the capital of Hanoi. The mindnumbing terror of first combat had long receded. Now it was a question of what we had become and whether I had grown "too fond of it" (pp. 5-6).

"Eagle three's up." I pull up only slightly, then roll inverted to ease the nose down and aim at the missile launchers. Barely four thousand feet above the river, I'm looking at the fattest site I've ever seen. Rolling back upright, I put the pipper on the first launcher nearest the river. Pickle once. I raise the nose just a bit and see the radar van. Pickle, pickle. Roll just slightly right, then pickle. I feel the tiny lurches as the CBU cans come off at each punch of the button atop the stick. I pull off momentarily to the left, then slam the rudder and stick back to reverse right. A stream of 23mm tracer arches up off my nose, but I'm turning away. I look back over my right shoulder and see the first of the sparkles as the bomblets start to light up the site. Puffs of smoke over the missiles identify where the CBU cans have opened. In a split-second the area is covered with bomblets detonating like hundreds of flashbulbs at a presidential press conference (pp.225-226)

Because somewhere in me is still the little boy,
who wants to kick the can and write on walls
and hitch rides on the tailgates of trucks
and pull little girls' pants down.

And somewhere in me is still the go-to-hell pilot
in the go-to-hell hat flinging an aircraft
down boundless halls of space,
and talking with hands for airplanes
and reliving the Po Delta and the Mekong Delta,
and reaching out to touch the face of God,
and profaning those who are tied to earth,
and pulling girls' pants down...

...When that time comes, if there is one thing to remember,
it will be that sweet memory that transcends them all.
the little boy, the go-to-heller, the philosopher, the realist;
it will be the ineffably beautiful picture of a girl...
with her pants down.

p. xii - Mel Porter, fighter pilot

(094) Rasimus, Ed (2006). Palace Cobra. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks.

Seven Days in Utopia

As the day ended, I felt like Chuck Yeager, the great test pilot. I had hit more types of shots on this day than any other day in my life. I had hit each of these shots with a see it, feel it, trust it checklist. I learned a tremendous lesson. In practicing for the emergencies of the game, my confidence grew. I felt more prepared for the real game of golf than any previous day of practice in my life.

The day of practice ended with Johnny saying, "Now I will sign you off to solo the plane."

I knew what he meant. I was ready for the emergencies of tournament golf. He pulled out his pocket knife and cut off the back of my shirt. This, I learned, was standard procedure for every pilot who solos for the first time. But I felt sure they weren't wearing an expensive golf shirt at the time (pp. 199-101).

*(095) Cook, David L. (2011). Seven days in Utopia. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


I am closing my fifty-two years of military service. When I joined the Army even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the Plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished. But I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that --

"Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."

And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away - an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty.


*(096) MacArthur, Douglas (1964). Reminiscences. New York: McGraw-Hill.

The Religion

His concerns were truncated by a gust of divine sound. A sound so divine, and of a beauty so pure, that it took him a moment to realize that it was music. And so lovely was this music that he couldn't bring himself to turn and seek its source, for it seized control of his nerves and so penetrated his heart that he was robbed of the power to do aught but fall for its spell. Two instruments, both stringed. One plucked, one bowed. One light and nimble, the notes falling soft as summer rain, the other dark and surging as the tides of a storm-wracked night, the two dancing, one with the other, in a fierce and elemental embrace.

He closed his eyes in the shade, with the scent of the roses in his throat, and let the music roll through his soul a saraband which caressed the face of death as lovers caress the face of their beloved. The darker instrument overwhelmed his senses with waves of ecstatic melancholy, in one moment brutal with exaltation, as delicate as candlelight in the next. Nothing he had known, not merely heard but known, had prepared him for such transcendence. What possessed him to allow his soul to yield to its force?...And when each note ended where did it go? And how could each be and then not be?...On and on the music rose and fell, and segued and flowed, with an exuberant hope and a demoniac despair, as if invoked from skin and wood and the gut strings of beasts by gods no priest or prophet had ever worshipped. And each time he knew that the music must die, depleted by its own extravagant longing, it resurrected itself again, and yet again, falling and climbing from one peak to the next, howling for more of itself, for more of his soul, that soul now borne along by the torrent unleashed from the locked places inside him of all that he'd done and all that he'd known and all that he'd seen of horror and glory and sorrow.

Then with the same shocking stealth with which the sound had arrived, silence stole its place, and the universe seemed empty, and in that emptiness he sat.

...he found that he was sitting with his face in his hands and when he took his hands away he found them wet with tears...Not since he'd learned that all flesh is dust, and that only God is great, and that, in this world, tears are for the comfort of the defeated. He wiped his face on the burgundy sleeve of his doublet.

*(097) Willocks, Tim (2006). The Religion. New York: Sarah Crichton Books.

Written that You May Believe

What is the purpose of this sign? On the one hand, Lazarus is not finally rescued from death since he must die again; on the other hand, Jesus' revelation to Martha was precisely that eternal life conquers death without abolishing it. The raising of Lazarus, as a Johannine sign, is a revelation of the identity and mission of Jesus in and through a "historical" event. Just as Jesus gave physical sight to reveal himself as Light and the World (John 9), so he here raises Lazarus to physical life to reveal himself as resurrection and life. Jesus in this scene gives eternal life to those who believe in him, whether in response to his word or in response to the sign, whether because they see or without seeing. He symbolizes this eternal gift by raising the dead, which, at the end of time, will bring eternal life to full manifestation. Lazarus can be raised because he is one whom Jesus loves, that is, a believer. His new life speaks both of his present possession of eternal life and of the final resurrection of those who die believing. It symbolizes the coincidence of present and future eschatology: the believer who dies yet lives; the living who believe will not die the everlasting death. (emphasis - gh)

The end of the narrative is the supreme irony of the Fourth Gospel. The religious authorities decide to kill Jesus because he gives life (cf. Acts 3:14-15). Yet his execution will be his glorification, the final revelation of the resurrection and the life (pp. 182-183).

(098) Schneiders, Sandra M. (2003). Written that you may believe. New York: Crossroad Publishing.

Engaging the Word

Are the biblical stories "true"?

In connection with this question, which always comes up with respect to the Gospels, I show a clip from the movie Secondhand Lions. Robert Duvall pays Uncle Hub, who has told his young nephew, Walter, many stories about his heroic, fairy-tale-like adventures in his younger days...One night Walter challenges the truth of these tales. Hub responds with an eloquent, provocative speech about the relationship between belief and truth: "Just because somethin' isn't true, that's no reason you can't believe in it." He goes on to explain that we are best shaped by believing in certain ideals whether they are true or not: that true love never dies, that honor outweighs power or money, and that good will eventually win over evil (p. 46).

Recently I taught John at a weekend preaching/lecture series. After discussing John 9 a quiet, unobtrusive woman who had faithfully come to the lectures and worship services, accompanied by her daughter who has Down Syndrome, came up to me with tears in her eyes and said, "So, you're saying it's not my fault that my daughter has Down Syndrome because I had her too late?" (That is, indeed, the point that I had made, but only because the text made the point first.) I was so moved by her courage, perseverance, and faith and simultaneously so angry that any Christian would burden this poor woman even further by their nescience. Stories are powerful, whether they "actually happened" or not (p. 47).

*(099) Clark-Soles, Jaime (2010). Engaging the word. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

The Gospel of John

Too Late!: 7.32-34

The authorities learn of what has happened (v.32) - the Evangelist is not interested in how they learn this - and they send servants to arrest Jesus. The assumption of v. 45 is that the servants arrive on the scene immediately, although this is not stated in so many words. Indeed the whole account is extremely sparse in such details: the only thing of importance is Jesus' saying (v. 33). This refers directly to the authorities' intention to arrest him (v. 32). Their real intention, of course, is to remove Jesus altogether (according to 5.18). Jesus replies to this in words of terrible irony. His opponents, like the Jews in v. 27, are right. He must be removed! Yet they are as fatally mistaken as those Jews; for they do not even suspect how right they are, and what Jesus' removal will mean.

I am with you for only a short time
and then I am going to the one who sent me
You will look for me but you will not find me
and where I am you cannot come*

It is not Jesus whom they will destroy, when they remove him, but themselves. Fundamentally, it will not be their work if they kill him, but his deed, his return to the Father who sent him. Yet his return to the Father is not seen here in terms of his exaltation and glorification, and of what that means for the believers, but in terms of his departure from the world, and of what that means for the unbelievers, namely that it is too late. His departure from the world means that the world is judged, and this judgment will consist in the very fact that he has gone, and therefore that the time of the revelation is past. Then "they will seek him," they will long for the revelation, but in vain; for then it will be too late; he will no longer be accessible to them.

Thus it is the historical contingency of the revelation which throws this terrible weight of responsibility on the hearer of the word. For the revelation is not generally available, but presents itself to man only at a certain limited time of its own choosing. It does not consist in universal truths, which can be grasped at all times and for all times, nor in dogma which one could invoke at any time, but it confronts man in time, it is in every case the present moment in a personal history. Should one neglect the opportunity, when confronted with the challenge of the Revealer, then the verdict applies: too late! (pp. 306-308).

* Bultmann's rendering is in Greek.

*(100) Bultmann, Rudolf (1971). The Gospel of John. Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press.

(First list complete - Next 100, by request only.)

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