How pleasant--and why not?--to be Lowell Thomas. At the start of WW II (where Good Evening, Everybody ended), you and your...



How pleasant--and why not?--to be Lowell Thomas. At the start of WW II (where Good Evening, Everybody ended), you and your Pawling, N.Y., neighbors want to ""get into the war"" by turning the area's country-gentleman facilities into a serviceman's rest center--so you approach old pal ""Hap"" Arnold, head of the Army air forces, who jumps at the offer. General Jimmy Doolittle stops by, and you gather more material for that long-brewing biography; he'll be off to bomb Tokyo soon, another chapter to work in. Meanwhile you're on the radio every night--and snap at the invitation by the head of Pan Am to visit US bomber-transport bases on the South American coast and broadcast on down to Rio. Over in the European Theater of Operations, courtesy again of Hap Arnold, you have a rousing reunion with WW I Sea Devil (and book subject) yon Luckncr in just-captured Halle, squeeze into a bomber headed for Berlin, learn of Mussolini's assassination at lunch with Mark Clark, and get an immediate interview with the Pope. You're bushed, but there's still a war on in the Pacific, so you answer Doolittle's summons to circle the globe, wind up flying the Hump into China, talking with Chennault, bedding down with Wedemeyer, interviewing Chiang. . . and convincing the most skeptical reader that you earned all your perks. Not that this is a book for the faithless: you gotta believe, like Thomas, in the holy crusade to save Quaker Hill from developers; in the once-and-future greatness of Cinerama; in all those elaborate expeditions to film exotic, unspoiled places for TV. But every episode has its quota of anecdotes, unforgettable characters, and interesting detail, and the accounts of his two great passions--skiing and golf--have a natural, nothing-to-sell zest. Thomas remarried at 84, on the Hawaiian island of Maul (""the Shah had invited us to be married at Persepolis""), and though his radio broadcasts ceased in 1976 (after a record 46 years), he's not about to settle down or clam up. Hardly a sour note here--just exuberant American optimism that age hasn't withered or custom staled.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 1977


Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1977