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

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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:, 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.

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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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Terry and the Pirates comic featuring the China National Aviation Corporation

Milton Caniff, one of the greatest American cartoonists, is perhaps most famous for his comic strip Terry and the Pirates. a 1930s and ’40s flying adventure set in China. China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) pilot Frank Higgs was an Ohio State classmate and fraternity brother of Caniff’s, and in the comic, Higgs served as the model for Caniff’s character Dude Hennick. As such, CNAC features regularly in Terry and the Pirates.

Here’s a Terry and the Pirates panel that mentions CNAC as it appeared in the Los Angeles Times on November 21, 1943. (Click on the picture and it’ll enlarge pretty well.)


(Thanks to Kai Freise, a CNAC and China’s Wings enthusiast in India, for pushing this along.)

CNAC pilot's wings on a map of the Hump

CNAC pilot’s wings on a map of the Hump

China's Wings

China’s Wings

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China’s Wings published in China, in Chinese

IMG_1I’m pleased to announce that China’s Wings has been translated into Chinese and published in China. Many thanks to Angie Chen, who did the translation.

My publisher tells me that none of the following sites will ship outside China, but here are three that should get the job done should you like to acqure a Chinese edition:

Amazon China; JD; and Dangdang.

All that cooked down into this...


It feels a strange being the author of a book in which I can’t read a single word, but I’m really glad that China’s Wings is finally available in The Middle Kingdom.



Posted in China's Wings | 2 Comments

The Hidden History of America at War by Kenneth C. Davis, reviewed by Gregory Crouch

Here’s “America’s Way of War,” my review of The Hidden History of America at War: Untold Stories from Yorktown to Fallujah by Kenneth C. Davis, which appeared in The Washington Post on June 5, 2015.

HH review copy


Here are the other two book reviews I’ve done for The Washington Post in recent months:

No Mans Land copyNo Man’s Land: Preparing for War and Peace in Post-9/11 America by Elizabeth Samet

(“Can Ovid and Harry Potter guide us through this era?” for The Washington Post, November 7, 2014)


Acid Test copy Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy and the Power to Heal by Tom Shroder.

(“Ecstasy Therapy” for The Washington Post, September 11, 2014.)


And here’s a link to all of the 20 books reviews I’ve done for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and others.

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