But they are not the mundane missives of a homesick young man who missed his mother’s cooking. Educated as a journalist, this incurably comedic pilot detailed his aerial exploits in a hilarious and self-effacing style that combines the vernacular of the day with flights of joyful imagination rivaling St. Exupery. And he didn’t sanitize his musings: Ted enthusiastically narrates the day-to-day rollercoaster ribaldry that was the natural M.O. of the young men who were tasked to kill Hitler’s Luftwaffe. His descriptions of near-constant drinking, skirt-chasing, gunplay, gambling, and out-and-out tomfoolery put the lie to the notion of the Greatest Generation as an earnest band of do-gooders.
These collected writings are more than literary entertainment: They are a boon to military and aviation historians and also to those who study period language and culture and the science of societies at war.
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