Monthly Archives: November 2010

What was, at the time, the world’s most exciting undertaking – flying

The romance of those beautiful airplanes flying against the backdrop of 1930s China set a hook in my heart. Shirley’s stories and her father’s photos cracked open the world of expatriate China, and Shanghai, in the decade before Pearl Harbor. Continue reading

Posted in 1930s and 1940s history, aviation history, Aviation photos, China & Chinese history, China's Wings, Moon Chin, photos of old China, Reading, Writing, and Research | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The first hints of something much more substantial…

I had one of my life’s best 24-hour pushes in New York: at Bantam, I lunched with John Flicker, my acquiring editor (thanks, John!),  and Nita Taublib , who might be the most well-read person I’ve ever met, gave one … Continue reading

Posted in Aviation photos, China's Wings, Moon Chin, Reading, Writing, and Research | Tagged | 1 Comment

I staggered upstairs, collapsed on my bed, pulled a blanket over my head, and sobbed tears of relief.

For the next year and a half, I failed to land another book project, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. Amidst the magazine writing and the part-time gig, three other well-developed ideas failed to launch. I was working through … Continue reading

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The lowest I’d ever been

I came home from the reunion, thrilled to have bumbled into such an incredible story, invested three months researching and writing a book proposal about the madcap adventures of the China National Aviation Corporation, and had my agent submit it … Continue reading

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“Where were you ten years ago, Mr. Writer, when I had twice as many members?”

On the last morning of the reunion, the hospitality room again filled with CNAC people and their wives. I sat to the side and watched them socialize, the conservative shirts, Sunday dresses, crinkled smiles, and thick glasses. Moon Chin leaned … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s and 1940s history, China's Wings, Moon Chin, Reading, Writing, and Research | 2 Comments

“I have no doubt I could start it up and fly her out of here.”

CNAC veterans Fletcher “Christy” Hanks and Gifford Bull scrambled up the ladder into the plane and made a bee-line for the cockpit. I clambered up after them and stood behind the pilots’ seats. Neither of them had been in the … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s and 1940s history, Aviation photos, China's Wings | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

“Back then, I was younger than you are now.”

The reunion room thundered with band of brothers camaraderie, packed with overjoyed old dudes slapping backs and bellowing into each other’s hearing aids, faces flushing red as they roared greetings and good-natured abuse. Hard-earned exuberance: not a man among them … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s and 1940s history, aviation history, Aviation photos, China & Chinese history, China's Wings, Moon Chin, Reading, Writing, and Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

You’d better hope you fall in love with it

Us narrative non-fiction guys and gals are pretty dependent on the quality of the stories we discover. A story swallows a massive chunk of your life if you decide to write a book about it: you’d better hope you fall … Continue reading

Posted in China's Wings, Enduring Patagonia, Reading, Writing, and Research | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Waiting… I’ve been doing a lot of it, and it’s making me a little crazy.

Waiting. I’ve been doing a lot of it these last five or six months, and it’s making me a little crazy. I’m waiting to hear back from my editor at Bantam Dell, an event which will hopefully get us into … Continue reading

Posted in Aviation photos, China's Wings, Reading, Writing, and Research | 3 Comments