NANETTE by Edwards Park


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In the grand old days of WW II, a fighter pilot loved his plane and treated her like Rita Hayworth. She responded, often bitchily, to his lightest caress on the controls but might snap or roll almost at will. She was sluggish or skittish and might be named Nanette, as was Park's P-38 Airacobra which he flew in New Guinea. Today's pilots, he remarks, fly mostly by instruments and guide a hurtling bomb, with a windshield so sharp it distorts vision. Park has a pleasant hour recalling those loony, dangerous days when the great aces of his squadron went into blind panic at the sight of an enemy plane and were aces nearly by accident and supremely lucky hits. His memoir is fond and repetitive, making no great point about anything except the camaraderie that bound the squadron. His recall of tight spots and lost buddies, of Nanette's foibles (in hindsight, her every failure seemed designed to save his life), and of the evening drinking parties is presented with bemused amazement and gratitude for his daily survival. Propwash nostalgia, blam-blam-blam, and fellowship on the thin edge of death.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1977
Publisher: Norton