Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reflections: The Candy Bombers

Adam C. Zern shares a few insights into Andrei Cherny's The Candy Bombers:

"I've only cried while reading two books.  One of those books took me completely by surprise.  I have long been a huge Leon Uris fan.  I have read every single one of his books (some of them great, some good, and some quite bad).  While reading Armageddon, his historical novel of post World War 2 Berlin, I was first introduced to the Berlin Airlift.  I had never heard of the event up to that point, which is quite sad.  One aspect of the Berlin Airlift that most impressed me, and ended up making me cry, was the story of American pilots creating makeshift parachutes, attaching them to small packages of candy, and dropping them out of their airplanes as they flew over the children of Berlin.  It was the most purely humanitarian act I had ever heard of.  Aside from Uris's book, however, I haven't heard much or anything about the Berlin Airlift, which really was America's finest hour and the first real showdown in the Cold War.  Luckily, The Candy Bombers provides a good historical account of the Berlin Airlift and its significance in American history.

Cherny does a good job of establishing the personalities and historical events that eventually led to the Berlin Airlift.  Although you'll probably have to flip back and forth between a few pages to make sure you're getting all of the personalities straight, it will be well worth it by the end of the book.  Learning of the political realities of not only Berlin, but also of America at the time of the Berlin Airlift was very interesting and a welcome addition to the book.  The Candy Bombers is truly a human story in the best possible way.  I didn't realize how affecting the candy drops were - not only for impoverished and brutalized Berliners but also for America and her citizens.  The Berlin Airlift is one of the most buried events of all American history, which is a tragedy.  It not only exemplifies the goodness of America and her citizens, but also highlights the worries and fears that was a natural part of the Cold War.

People should think seriously about reading The Candy Bombers simply because it's probably a piece of American history that they know little or nothing about.  Cherny has put together a fine work of history that is totally accessible and readable.  I would recommend The Candy Bombers without any reservations."

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