I propose a new word: Apocalyst

As I did last year, I’d like to propose a new word:


Definition: (n) The Thanksgiving shopping list.

#wordsmithing #Thanksgiving #wordsmatter

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Fear the Catholics among you!

If you were a native-born American in the 1840s and 1850s, you quite likely thought the massive wave of Catholics immigrating into the United States was an invasion by a foreign power whose values were incompatible with American principles and saw it as part of a vast Papal conspiracy to conquer and subdue American democracy. Fear the Catholics among you, for they have come to spread their superstitions, their theocracy, their idolatry, and their false God! And we all know how that played out…

They became Americans just like you and me.

Anti-Catholicism in the United States

Posted in History & Politics | 2 Comments

The Decisive Weapon in the War on Terror

In light of the terrible events in Paris over the weekend, and what I hope is our measured, forceful, intelligent, careful, well-targeted, and violent response to it, I hope that we don’t lose sight of that which will, I am sure, in the long run prove to be the decisive weapon in our war on terror–THE RULE OF LAW.

#ParisAttacks #PrayForParis #WarOnTerror

Posted in Book & Movie Reviews, China's Wings, Enduring Patagonia, History & Politics, Reading, Writing, and Research | 4 Comments

Patagonia in the New York Herald in 1848

I just stumbled across this article about Patagonia in The New York Herald on September 19, 1848….

“Patagonia… is an almost unknown country, at the southern extremity of South America, and is famous for being the fabled land of giants. The aboriginals were reported to be of gigantic stature, but this idle tale has long since been exploded.

“Patagonia, we believe, forms a part of the Argentine Republic, but is unsettled, and destitute of ports, cities, or commerce…”

Here’s a screen grab of the article:

Patagonia NYH 1848 09 19 copy

Fun stuff!



Posted in Enduring Patagonia | 2 Comments

Excellent CNAC video featuring Moon Chin, Pete Goutiere, and others

Here’s an excellent 20-minute CNAC video featuring four of the airline’s pilots I interviewed while writing China’s Wings: Moon Chin, Pete Goutiere, Fletcher Hanks, and Cedric Mah.

Wong How Man, founder of the China Exploration and Research Society (CERS), organized and produced the documentary. It’s very well done, with lots of film footage and photographs from CNAC’s days of Flying the Hump, 1942-1945, and it’s an excellent vehicle through which to “meet” these amazing men.

China's Wings

Posted in China's Wings | 1 Comment

303 years of CNAC flying glory!

303 years of China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) flying glory in this photo, which I took at the annual CNAC Association reunion this past weekend.

That’s Moon Fun Chin (102), Jack Young (100), and Pete Goutiere (101)

Looking good, boys!

Looking good, boys!


Fun weekend with the rest of the CNAC gang, and great to see Moon, Jack, and Pete is such good health and spirits.

CNAC forever!

What was CNAC? It’s the prime mover in my book China’s Wings.

Posted in China's Wings, Moon Chin | 7 Comments

My WSJ review of The Oregon Trail: An American Journey by Rinker Buck

Oregon Trail copyHere’s my review of Rinker Buck’s new book The Oregon Trail: An American Journey, which appeared as “Go Your Own Way” in The Wall Street Journal on August 1 & 2, 2015.

I really enjoyed it.

Solid “A.”


Posted in Book & Movie Reviews | 2 Comments

China’s Wings eBook on sale for $1.99

Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the China’s Wings eBook on sale for $1.99!

Over the weekend, China’s Wings ranked #1 in Amazon’s World War II History category, ahead of three versions of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.

Great opportunity to pick a copy up at a good price and/or to send one as a gift.

WWII History list copy

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Rope Diplomacy FREE for the next five days!

In honor of the nuclear deal struck between Iran and the world powers, I’ve made my eArticle Rope Diplomacy: On the Steeps in Iran FREE for the next five days.

Cliimbing on Alam KuhIn the summer of 2011, I traveled to Iran with National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez and spent a jaw-dropping month climbing some of the highest mountains in the Islamic Republic of Iran and doing some excellent rock climbing. We were members of a goodwill exchange between the American Alpine Club and the Alpine Club of Iran intended to improve the strained relations between our two peoples. Besides having wild adventures in gorgeous mountains, we built excellent relationships with our Persian hosts, gained a better appreciation of the ancient culture of Iran, and experienced some of the tensions inherent in life in modern Iran, all at a time when the two captured American hikers were still languishing in a Tehran prison.

(Note: You do not need a Kindle or dedicated eReader to read digitally. You can download the free Kindle app to most any electronic device. It’s easy to do and easy to use.)

Stephen’s website is gorgeous: Alvarezphotography.com, and full of gobsmacking images and stories.

I’ve made a number of posts about Iran, with some of my own photographs. They’re available through the “Iran” category of this website.

Posted in Enduring Patagonia, Iran | Leave a comment

Quoted in the July/August issue of The Atlantic

I got quoted in “The Big Question” department of the July/August 2015 issue of The Atlantic, alongside a number of other aviation authors and luminaries.

Atlantic copy

I wrote an article for them three years ago, “The Peaks of Persia” (April, 2012), which tells the story of my 2011 climbing trip to Iran as a participant in a climbing exchange between the American Alpine Club and the Alpine Club of Iran–an incredible, eye-opening adventure.

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