on 7 July 2009
I purchased this book on the strength of reading the author's collaborative writing on the Rudolph Hess mystery. I had noted from that book that technical details appear to be the writer's strong point and sure enough that style is very apparent in this book too. The writer has clearly researched the facts pretty thoroughly in each of the missing persons who are the subjects of this book. He has also taken the opportunity to chuck in a chapter about the Bristol Beaufort bomber of WW2 of which he has had personal experience apparently, although one has to wonder why he felt it was relevant to this book. As I say, if you're looking for facts and data then this author doesn't disappoint, and if he were a lawyer or scientist then he would be highly commended for it. My feeling at the end of the book was rather like that of dining out at a new restaurant and leaving after the meal not quite certain if I had enjoyed it- there being an empty feeling remaining. I can only put that down to the belief that the author is cautious not to let imagination play any part in his assessment of the facts and again, whilst commendable if it's the facts you want, the problem is that there aren't enough facts to come to a firm conclusion on any of the missing person's true fates. In other words, you start to read the book hoping to understand what happened to Glenn Miller for example and you finish it not knowing much more than when you started. The Glenn Miller conclusions in the book rest not on the facts that are so well presented about the cirumstances, but only on the second-hand reporting of the recollections of someone who is now deceased, and who cannot now be challenged. Well of course the author could speculate more strongly than he does, and he might then open himself up for criticism for doing so; but the book might be somewhat more exciting than it is too! In summary, this writer has a style which will suit those who like data and proof. If you want some imagination and speculation then you need to do that for yourself as a reader. Nothing wrong with that, and I don't want to seem to belittle the author's efforts. This book just falls short of being a cracking read, and it is the fault of history, not that of the author. Recommended reading!