Friday, February 18, 2011

Forgotten Classic

When I first fell in love with flying I had already been in love with books, and I spent (and spend) countless hours chasing down used and rare books. When I started scrutinizing the aviation sections there seemed to be hundreds of copies of Guy Murchie's Song of the Sky clogging every used bookshop in the land. There were so many that I paid no attention, although I had fanned through it and noted that author's hand-made etchings. But, money and time being what they are, other books seemed more pressing. "I can get that one anytime," I thought.

Of course I was wrong; after a few years Song of the Sky had disappeared. I forgot about it until my wife returned from a recent business trip with a present.

Murchie covers some of the territory familiar from Ernest K. Gann's immortal classic Fate is the Hunter, but there is a different feel. Gann's prose is spare and beyond analysis. I pick it up and start to read a passage to see what makes it so good, but I get sucked into the story and forget all about Gann's prose.

But Murchie is more Byron than Hemingway, and he is not afraid to follow an idea where ever it may lead. All I know of his other writings is what I read in Wikipedia, but it appears that his interests were remarkably broad.

Which is as it should be. As much as I love flying, I'm always a little concerned when I run across someone with no other interest. How can this be? Flying is intertwined with geometry, art, leadership, mechanics, computing, law, the atmosphere, the stars, rocket science, and, as we all know from slipping these surly bonds of earth, poetry. To be interested in flying is to be interested in everything.

It's going to be a good read.

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1 Comments:

At February 20, 2011 at 7:23 PM , Blogger Waverly said...

i love this.

 

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