DARK STAR by Ronnie Dugger


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The ""American arsenal alone is easily more than enough to account for the 20,000 pounds of TNT for every man, woman, and child on earth,"" writes author Dugger in this sort-of biography of Claude Eatherly, the man who flew the reconnaissance mission over Hiroshima and radioed back to the Enola Gay to come ahead (the weather was clear) and drop the A-bomb. Subsequent to the war. Eatherly made the newspapers several times as he got mixed up in a plot to overthrow the Cuban government, drank heavily, stuck up numerous stores (with unloaded or toy pistols), cashed a myriad of rubber checks, and, as a result of these, has been in and out of mental institutions. Eatherly has also been vocal in various ways against the potential nuclear holocaust, and it is at this point that Mr. Dugger takes off on his own, using Eatherly as a springboard, and launches into a morality play in which one wonders not about the need for pointing America out to itself, but rather at the machinery (Eatherly's only moderately interesting life) for doing so. Eatherly's mental stability was affected by many things (which the author faithfully reports), not just his part in the A-bomb dropping. In using the pilot's life as a preface to his punch line. Dugger is forced to tell more and show less of the possible atomic-weapon foolishness and his book becomes something of a preachment, inoffensive but determined.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1967
Publisher: World