This book is part biography and part the story of a tragic accident, in which actress Carole Lombard and twenty one other people lost their lives. Much of the wreckage of TWA Flight 3, the commercial airliner which crashed on the evening of January 16th, 1942, is still strewn across the side of Mount Potosi in Nevada. The author actually climbed to the crash site and it took him four and a half hours to ascend the steep mountain slope. It can only be imagined how hard it was to mount a rescue mission on that dark night, so long ago.
However, despite so much time passing, the author does a wonderful job in recreating those events – tracking down living eyewitnesses and accounts from people that were there. He tells of how the plane was refuelled at McCarren airfield in Los Vegas, where it took off without problems; heading for the Birbank Air Terminal, where Clark Gable, Lombard’s husband, and the wife of the Hollywood publicist accompanying her, were waiting for the plane. Lombard should not have even been on board, having promised not to fly. As well as being accompanied by publicist Otto Winkler, she was also with her mother – who had made her promise to travel by train, due to her fear of flying. Desperate to get home quickly, Lombard insisted on taking a flight. Her mother, Elizabeth Peters was a student of numerology and begged her not to take the plane. Three was apparently an unlucky number and they were taking Flight , arriving at Indianapolis at 3am, there were three of them flying and her daughter was 33 years and months old... The omens were not good. Once aboard, they were even asked to disembark, to give priority to service personnel; but the actress insisted that she was doing valid war work, travelling the country selling bonds and fundraising for the war effort and they were allowed to re-board.
This book gives you a biography of Carole Lombard, plus gives information on the other passengers. These included a young army wife, going to join her husband, several passengers from the US Army Air Corps Ferrying Command, flying bombers to be delivered overseas and, obviously, the crew. After the accident there was a desperate rescue attempt, in difficult conditions. The book follows what happened, the investigation and asks why the accident happened. It is a very readable account of a tragic event and the author gives an amazingly detailed account of what happened and the people involved.
Lastly, I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, for review.