Sunday, June 30, 2013

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect

1. Short review: 

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: The humor and, surprisingly, the music.  Pitch Perfect is a fun movie.

2.2. What I did not like: The fact that I missed it in theaters. The poster.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Everyone.

2.4. Is the movie appropriate for children to see? Yes.

2.5. On the basis of viewing this movie, will I pay to see the sequel? Yes.

2.6. Rating and the plot in a nutshell:

2.6.1. How I rate movies:
-- I want my money back.
-- Worth a rental, not more. 
-- Worth first-run theater price once. 
-- I will pay first-run theater price to see it again. <-- Pitch Perfect

Running time: 112 minutes.

2.6.2. The plot in a nutshell:
     Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick) is a rebel. She rebels against her father's wish for her to go to college . . . but she goes to college. Where she joins a girl's a cappella singing group to rebel against her father's command to join some group on campus. This group, the Barden Bellas, lost last year's International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella when their soloist, Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp), blew a big technicolor yawn over the audience. Beca rebels against Aubrey's tight-fisted control of the Bellas.
     Hijinks, college-style sexual encounters (as portrayed by the movies), misadventures.
     Aubrey surrenders the pitch pipe to Beca, and the Bellas win the ICCA.
2.7. Other:

     I saw this on pay-per-view. I loved it. 
     I was half asleep when my wife said, "Let's see a movie." She flipped to the VOD on cable and clicked her way through the selections.
     I mumbled, "Whaddaya wanna see?"
     "Comedy." She stopped at Pitch Perfect. "You like this?"
     I didn't care. I figured a movie would give me a chance to sleep. So I replied, "Sure. Let's see it."
     When the intro began, I knew this was something different. I woke up; watched every minute of it, amused and entertained all the while; and sat through the end credits praying for Easter eggs.

     I see the movie grossed $65 million in the US and $45 million more abroad. I hope it made money.

     Big, big kudos for the screenplay writer, Kay Cannon. Brilliant. 


2.8. Links:
IMDb review
Rotten Tomatoes review

Friday, June 28, 2013

eBook Review: Colt

Jude Hardin, COLT

Product Details

  • File Size: 275 KB
  • Print Length: 183 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D4CF5X8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars (17 customer reviews) 
  • Price: $3.99
1. Short review:  (Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars -- I like it.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: The cover; the hero, Nicholas Colt; and the story. (Not in that order.)
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Mostly a roller coaster. And sometimes a scary roller coaster.
Worth the money. A fun summer beach read.

2.2. What I did not like: I was disappointed in the ending. One bad guy got away. YMMV.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Mystery buffs.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read? Yes. The profanity is minimal, and the racy situations are less explicit than the kiddies see on The Big Bang Theory.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? Yes.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell.

     Nicholas Colt was a rock star. He lost his band, his wife, and his child when their chartered jet crashed. Now a private investigator, he commemorates the anniversary of that crash by getting dead drunk.
     On the day of one such commemoration, Everett Harbaugh arrives at Colt's trailer home to hire him to find his father. Seems the young Mr Harbaugh was begotten on his mother by a sperm donor. When the boy steps out to get something from his Beamer, Colt passes out. When Colt comes to, the Beamer is still there with Harbaugh's keys and cell phone inside, but Everett Harbaugh is gone. Colt concludes that the boy was kidnapped.
     A short investigation reveals that two other children by the same donor were murdered on their twentieth birthdays. Harbaugh turns twenty in four days.
     This is a mystery. If I tell you the rest of the plot, it will spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that Colt's journey to the truth involves a nut-case fast-food manager, a motorcycle gang, Harbaugh's sire, and Harbaugh's dad. Oh, yeah, and a little propane-torch torture. 
     The clues to the solution are all there, but I did not put them together until the end.     

 2.7. Other:

     I received my copy free from Mr Hardin. That obligated me to write an honest review. That did not obligate me to write a favorable review. The good writing did that.

     For all his faults, I liked Nicholas Colt. COLT was a fun read.


2.8. Links: Jude Hardin

2.9. Buy the book: COLT

Monday, June 10, 2013

eBook Review: Tunnel in the Sky

Robert Heinlein, Tunnel in the Sky

Product Details

  • File Size: 256 KB
  • File Size: 398 KB
  • Print Length: 227 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IK9478
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars (131 customer reviews) 
  • Price: $7.99
1. Short review:  (Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars -- I like it.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: The line-level writing and the story.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Both.
Easily worth the money. Hardback editions fetch $100.00+.

2.2. What I did not like: The cover above.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Everybody.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Oh, yeah, definitely. Should be on every teen's summer reading list.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? Yes.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell.

     Rod Walker goes off-world through a stargate for his final test in survival. If he survives, he passes. This is the only way he can join the throngs seeking to leave Earth. On Earth, rationing is in effect. Too many mouths, not enough food.
     Recall to Earth will be in 10 days, he is told. He has to cover 20km to get to the recall point.
     On the planet, he finds many of his classmates already dead. He survives the night. And then the next day. And then another. And another.
     He partners with a survivor from a different class who is called Jackie. Jackie points out a bright star that was not there when they arrived.
     The tenth day comes. And goes. No recall.
     More survivors join Rod and Jackie. Once they have about three dozen in their group, they form a community with laws and offices and set up for the long haul. The community gets swarmed by the indigenous wildlife during migration season. The 'dopey Joes' kill several in the community, including the town mayor. Rod succeeds to the mayoralty.
     Years pass. One day a gate opens from Earth. The bright star was a supernova. Its radiation wave prevented the boys on Earth from establishing a gate for recall. Now that they have established a gate, everybody goes back to Earth. Emotional ups and downs. Rod was THE big fish in Cowpertown. Now he is nobody. He earns his outworld certificate and leads a train of homesteaders off-world.

 2.7. Other:
     Tunnel in the Sky had a big impact on me when I read it as a kid. An example:
     When I flew in the Air Force, one morning we were at the briefing and I got picked for the stand-up. That means I stood up and answered a hypothetical situation put to me by the squadron Safety Officer.
     I no longer recall the details of the setup, but at the end I had to punch out over hostile territory (hypothetically).
     I said, "My 'chute deploys. I look up to check that I have a good 'chute and all risers are intact."
     Safety officer nodded. "They are. All panels are good." Meaning my 'chute was good.
     "I unplug my mask and discard it."
     Another nod.
     "I unsnap my holster, pull out my pistol, and throw it away."
     The safety officer looked confused. "Why?"
     "Sir, I am going down in hostile territory with six rounds in a thirty-eight. Either way my pistol does not sound like an ay-kay forty-seven. The bad guys are looking for me on the ground. They have ay-kays. Suppose I get lucky and get close enough to pop one of 'em with my thirty-eight. All his buddies just heard that shot, and they're gonna come running. How willing will they be to take my surrender when they see I've killed one of their friends?"
     The safety officer pursed his lips and nodded. "Okay. So what do you use?"
     "I got a knife and a K-bar. They don't make noise. If I have to kill, I kill with them at very close range. But I hope I just stay scared and run. My knives will keep me alive. A gun will give me just enough courage to get killed."
     A man with a knife knows he is the hunted. A man with a gun can get confused about that.

     There has been a great deal of controversy over whether Rod Walker was black. Follow the link at Heinlein's name below for all of it.
      The Cliff Notes version: Rod Walker was black. Virginia Heinlein, Robert Heinlein's wife, said so.

     When Heinlein wrote Tunnel in the Sky, the world was headed for a Malthusian catastrophe, and he wrote it that way. You have Norman Borlaug and Henry Beachell to thank for avoiding that catastrophe.


2.8. Links: Robert Heinlein

2.9. Buy the book: Tunnel in the Sky

Saturday, June 8, 2013

eBook Review: Oath of Fealty

Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle, Oath of Fealty

Product Details from Baen's Books
Published 1/1/2008
SKU: 1416555161
Ebook Price: $6.99

1. Short review:  (Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars -- I like it.)
2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: A decent story wrapped around a great idea. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle write well.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Sometimes a coaster, sometimes a walk.
Worth the money.

2.2. What I did not like: The lack of a central character to identify with. Instead we get hero-by-committee. The top brass of Todos Santos -- Tony Rand, Barbara Churchward, and Arthur Bonner -- are one character in multiple bodies.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Science fiction fans.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? Yes.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell.

     Todos Santos is central to the plot. Todos Santos is an arcology, a cube a mile on a side, constructed on part of Los Angeles burned out in a riot. Todos Santos provides quarters, entertainment, work, and security to its residents.
     Todos Santos has enemies: FROMATE -- FRiends Of Man And The Earth. Oath of Fealty begins with a team of three FROMATEs carrying a box marked BOMB as they infiltrate Todos Santos. Preston Sanders orders them stopped. Security captures one and kills the other two. The box marked BOMB is filled with sand. The LA authorities are not amused. One of the dead kids is the son of an LA councilman.
     Sanders surrenders to the LAPD. Goes to jail. Tony Rand, Barbara Churchward, and Arthur Bonner -- the Triumvirate -- 1) market the arcology concept to a Canadian concern, 2) continue to run Todos Santos, and 3) plot to break Sanders out of jail.
     The Canadians sign on. Todos Santos continues to run. The Triumvirate breaks Sanders out of jail in an inventive fashion.
     Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the FROMATES infiltrate Todos Santos again. The bomb this team carries is real. Todos Santos Security kills them.
     Sanders leaves for a position with one of the company's projects in Africa. Rand goes to Canada. The LA councilman takes vengeance on the local head of FROMATE. Todos Santos continues. 

2.7. Other:
    This is an idea story. The idea is the arcology: Todos Santos. Waldos. Computer implants. Moving sidewalks. Safety and security -- Todos Santos -- in the midst of crime and chaos -- Los Angeles. For the residents, Todos Santos is a bit of Heaven in the midst of Hell.
    The fact that Oath of Fealty is an idea story accounts for why the Triumvirate are just one character. One is interchangeable with either of the other two. The only way to tell them apart in conversation is by the attribution tags.
    It is an interesting idea. Would you prefer to live in Todos Santos? Or LA?

2.8. Links:
Larry Niven 
Jerry Pournelle
Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor

2.9. Buy the book: Oath of Fealty

Thursday, June 6, 2013


     When I in college, the search was on for quarks. I recall an article appeared in, oh, Omni or Analog that reported a physicist had found quarks. He reported that quarks were several feet in diameter and colored purple and green and yellow. All that was needed to see quarks was a warm Caribbean beach, a fifth or two of whiskey, and a great willingness to see quarks. In the '70s, that was your basic quark detector.
     In the 19th century, Urbain Le Verrier calculated the orbit of Mercury using Newtonian mechanics. Unfortunately, the measurements of Mercury's passage differed slightly but measurably from Le Verrier's predictions. Le Verrier posited the existence of a small planet inside the orbit of Mercury to account for the difference in order to save Newtonian mechanics. He named this postulated planet "Vulcan". Lo and behold, astronomers came up with observations that purported to confirm the existence of Vulcan. One was awarded the Legion d'Honneur for his work. Le Verrier died happy, content in the knowledge that Vulcan existed. Except it didn't.
     Before Vulcan, chemists proposed the existence of phlogiston to explain combustion. Once it became possible to accurately measure the weights of materials before and after combustion, in order to explain the increase in weight of burned materials, some chemists proposed that phlogiston had negative weight. The old chemists did not give up phlogiston. They just died. A new generation grew up with newly discovered elements and the theory of oxidation. 
     When I was an undergraduate, my physics professors said that the equations for mass traveling faster than c yielded meaningless answers. We students replied, No, they yielded negative imaginary mass. The professors said, That's meaningless. We students replied, No, it is not meaningless; we just don't know what it means. I have waited many years for one of my fellows to ascribe meaning to negative imaginary mass. I still wait.
     Now I read that there is more Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the universe than there is . . . Light Matter and Light Energy, I guess. And that, like
String Theory, they are untestable. In the cases of DM and DE, they are untestable because we can't get handles on them using the tools of our world. Question: If we cannot observe or manipulate DM or DE, how is it that they interact with our world?
     A suggestion: Let's give DM and DE the dignity they deserve and call them phlogiston.
     Surely there must be a physicist or six who has thought similar thoughts. If modern physics require phlogiston to save the equations, perhaps the equations are not worth saving.

     "All models are wrong, but some are useful."

     The Einsteinian model is still useful, but so is Newtonian mechanics. You can plot a course to the Moon and back using only Newtonian mechanics. It is only at the boundaries of Newtonian physics that the model fails and we must use the Einsteinian model. But at its boundaries, the Einsteinian model requires contortions that are literally incredible.
     Perhaps as happened with phlogiston and Vulcan, advance will come when the current generation of physicists -- who have their careers invested in this model -- die. A younger generation will work up new theories to deal with the discrepancies at the boundaries. And those new theories will work until they find a new boundary. And then we shall begin the round again.

     "Vanity of vanities. All is vanity! . . . and there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:2 & 9

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

eBook Review: A Light in the Dark

Nathan Lowell, A Light in the Dark

Product Details

  • File Size: 362 KB
  • Print Length: 78 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Durandus (July 22, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005E8YZF4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars (49 customer reviews) 
  • Price: $0.99
1. Short review:  (Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars -- I like it.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: A good story, well told. Nathan Lowell writes well.
This story happens in the Solar Clipper universe but not in the Ishmael Wang series.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Kind of a roller coaster.
Easily worth the money.

2.2. What I did not like: The story got slow in the middle but for a reason. It picked up before it got tedious.
Sorry, but I did not like the way Lowell wrote the captain's mast proceedings near the end. I gave the book 5 stars until I read that.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Science fiction fans.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? Yes.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell.

     Bjorn Gunderson captains the solar clipper Wanderer. His ship is boarded and inspected dockside by the authorities, because a zealous import officer noticed a small discrepancy in his manifest (extra spaces at the end of a line). This alerts us that the authorities suspect someone is smuggling.
     On departure, BG notices a friend's vessel shipping out short a can (a cargo container) and sailing an odd route. The friend's vessel show up with a full load; that is, not short a can. Hmmm.
     On the next run, a small meteor pierces the Wanderer and slags its star drive. The crew repair the hull quickly but cannot repair the drive. They scavenge food from one of the cans and jettison the cargo. With reaction engines, BG sails toward a traffic nexus, broadcasting mayday and praying to be rescued.
     A crewman assaults BG and escapes the Wanderer in a lifepod. BG spends a week in the autodoc, but it cannot save his left eye. Can you say 'pirate's patch'? I knew you could.
     Wanderer gets found. Crewman gets a captain's mast. BG's crew take off on other ships. BG and his first mate, Nancy, remain aboard to serve the smugglers passing through the nexus.

2.7. Other:
    The merchant marine of the Solar Clipper universe uses a military hierarchy and a military judicial system.
    I loved this story until the captain's mast. The idea that a crewman would be offered a captain's mast for assaulting his captain is less believable than a star drive. That boy is going to a court martial and will likely dance the Danny Deever.
    Okay, okay, I get what NL tried to do. But in the middle of the Mast the presiding officer adds another charge -- mutiny. Wow. We're making this up as we go.

2.8. Links:
Nathan Lowell

2.9. Buy the book: A Light in the Dark

Saturday, June 1, 2013

eBook Review: Barrayar

Lois McMaster Bujold, Barrayar

Product Details

  • File Size: 544 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005BFIH7M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews) 
  • Price: $6.99
1. Short review:  (Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars -- I like it.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: A good story, well told. Lois McMaster Bujold writes well. Depending on whether you count Falling Free as part of the series, Barrayar falls third or second in the Saga of Miles Vorkosigan.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Roller coaster.
Worth the money.

2.2. What I did not like: The cover above.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Science fiction fans.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? Yes.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell.

     Cordelia Naismith, a Betan, marries Aral Vorkosigan, a Barrayaran, and becomes pregnant with their first child. She tries to settle into life on Barrayar.
     The trouble begins when Aral is named regent to the young emperor, Gregor. Well, he's not the emperor yet. His grandfather, Ezar, lies in bed, slowly expiring. His father, Serge, is dead, and I gather from the side comments the household retainers make about him that that is a good thing. Anyway, old Ezar dies, Gregor becomes emperor, and Aral starts running the gov't.
    A couple of kids in their tweens resolve an argument by a duel. With sabers. One gets pinked too deep and bleeds out. The other is brought to Aral for justice, because 1) the emperor or his Council of Counts made dueling a crime and 2) the boy is Vor and cannot by tried by the common courts.
    Good ol' Aral upholds the law and has the boy beheaded. Mercy droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven but not on Barrayar. As night follows the day, this execution starts a blood feud between House Vorkosigan and the executed boy's Vor house.
    Dead boy's brother retaliates -- didn't see that coming -- with a gas bomb. Cordelia and Aral get a whiff. The gas will kill them if they do not get the antidote. They get the antidote. But the antidote has MAJOR side effects. One is that Aral can no longer father children. Another is that Cordelia cannot carry her baby to term. Cordelia has a Caesarean and the fetus is moved to a Betan uterine replicator. A specialist begins a course of treatment on the fetus to improve its chances for normal development.
    Aral has dead boy's brother beheaded, too. Yeah, that's gonna cool the hot heads and calm the angry.
    Cordelia and Aral slip away to their lake home. Soon, a flyer wobbles in and crashes on their lawn. In the crashed flyer are the head of Imperial Security and the young Emperor Gregor. Following Barrayaran tradition, another Vor has lodged an objection to Aral's regency by storming the Imperial Residence, attempting to kidnap the emperor, and holding hostage the imperial household, including the queen mother.
    Aral orders the Vorkosigan household to scatter. Cordelia takes Gregor and rides with her father-in-law, Piotr, to escape the baddies. A lot of trekking through the hills on horseback with narrow escapes. The parties split off. Gregor goes one way, Cordelia another. She re-unites with Aral.
    While Aral rallies support to the emperor, escapees from the capital straggle in. One of the escapees is the specialist who was treating Cordelia's baby in replicator utero. He tells Cordelia that he left the uterine replicator with six days of fluid. He expects that the rebels will not replenish the fluid. The clock is ticking.
    With two loyal retainers and Aral's reluctant aide-de-camp, Cordelia sets off to rescue her baby. Does. Dramatically so. Captures the Big Bad Meanie his own self. Politely asks one of her retainers to execute him. He does. Rebellion ends.
    Miles is born, and everybody lives happily ever after. Or so it is implied. But we know better.

 2.7. Other:
    The first Vorkosigan story I read was The Borders of Infinity. IMO TBoI ranks among the ten best stories in science fiction.
    The Vor world appears feudal to those raised with recent notions of democracy. The Vors stress personal loyalty. Like the officers of the Royal Army, the Barrayarans swear allegiance to a person. I plan to explore the subject of allegiance in detail in an essay.
    With Barrayar, I felt I was reading a book written by a woman. I never had that feeling with other books in the Vorkosigan series, but the feeling was definite this time.
    The point of view is that of Cordelia. The lock on her is strong. Cannot recall reading another book in which the PoV was as sharp and strong as in Barrayar. That is a compliment. 
    LMB details the chronology of the Vorkosigan series in an Author's Note at the end of the book. Read the series in order. Or not. I haven't. Hasn't made a difference to me.

2.8. Links:
Lois McMaster Bujold
Vorkosigan Saga
Miles Vorkosigan

2.9. Buy the book: Barrayar

eBook Review: Luftwaffe Fighter Ace

Norbert Hannig, Luftwaffe Fighter Ace

Product Details

  • File Size: 2109 KB (photos account for the large file size)
  • Print Length: 192 pages 
  • Publisher: Grub Street (November 19, 2004) 
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars (19 customer reviews) 
  • Price: $9.34
1. Short review:  (Amazon rating: 5 out of 5 stars -- I love it.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: Norbert Hannig's personal account of his war. John Weal's editing and translation are outstanding. He knew what to leave in German and what to translate. I have never seen better.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Roller coaster.
Cheap at twice the price.

2.2. What I did not like: The formatting. There is an appendix that gives the Luftwaffe's rules for airmen. The 'Tweet that you have finished' showed up after the first page of the appendix. Caused my Kindle to hang. Could not page back, could not go home, could not turn off. Had to wait for it to time out.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Air combat history fans.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes, surprisingly.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? Yes. Norbert Hannig wrote Was gilt denn unser Leben (What are our lives worth?) but 1) it was printed only in German and 2) is currently unavailable. John Weal has more than fifty books available at Amazon.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell.

     Surprisingly, there is a plot.
     NH was a high school student in Silesia when the war began. He saw that, unless he took steps, he would be drafted to the infantry. He joined the local gliding club and volunteered for the Luftwaffe.
     NH cheated to pass his physical exam -- something about albumin in his urine. He passed his first flying school and chose the Russian Front for his service. This choice determined his fighter training school.
    March, 1943, NH was posted to Jagdgruppe 54 (JG54) near Leningrad. This was his first combat assignment. He began flying the Me 109 but soon transitioned to the Focke Wulf 190.

Okay, it is not Norbert's FW, but it is one like the last FW model he flew.

    After a long apprenticeship as wingman, NH took a lead position. JG54 supported the Wehrmacht in the Ukraine at the Battle of Kursk. NH reported that several times his Jagdstaffel (squadron) left an airfield moments ahead of the advancing Red Army. At least once he saw Soviet tanks below him before he was wheels-up.
    January, 1944, NH returned to Germany to train new pilots. By this time, American bombers and long-range fighters dominated the skies over Germany. After instruction was done, NH and other instructors had to sit 'ready flight' in armed fighters to scramble against the bombers. On one scramble, NH shot down a bomber and a P51.
     October, 1944, NH returned to JG54 in the Courland Pocket. For a while, NH was acting Staffelfuehrer of 1/JG54.
     April, 1945, NH was trained to fly the Me 262. This training consisted of lectures, book study, and one -- count 'em -- one flight, and that a stolen flight.
     After the war, NH surrendered to the first Western Allied officer he could find. Turned out that was a Canadian. Who turned NH over to the Americans. The Americans processed and 'discharged' him as fast as they could. 'Discharged', NH searched for his family and his fiancee. (NH and Gisela became engaged 14 February 1945.) NH traveled back to Silesia, which was in the Russian Sector, to find his family. He reported to the Soviet authorities there. The Soviets tore up his American discharge, interrogated him, and issued him a Soviet discharge with the condition that he report to the local authorities each month. During his time under Soviet occupation, he married Gisela (Christmas 1945). On his monthly report in January, 1946, the German clerk informed NH that his file had been requested, the precursor to transporting him to the USSR. NH guessed this was because he had flown the Me 262. NH slipped away that night and headed west.
     Back in a western sector, NH worked as a farmhand until a friend persuaded him to surrender to the British and join one of their work crews in order to be fed. He did so and bossed a work gang for the British until June 1946 when the British 'discharged' him. During this time, his wife and family joined him.
     NH returned to flying in 1955 with the Bundesluftwaffe.
     All tallied, NH scored 42 confirmed kills.

 2.7. Other:
     NH gave fairly detailed accounts of his glider training.
     NH reported that in 1944 the Luftwaffe abandoned bombers and zerstoerers and re-assigned the pilots of those. Those who could make the transition became fighter pilots. Those who could not joined Luftwaffe ground units. (The Luftwaffe had its own infantry and also manned the flak batteries.) NH told the tale of three bomber jockeys whose flying habits were great for bombers but were not suitable for fighters. He convinced them by way of a mock dogfight that, for them, flying a fighter against the Americans was suicide. They changed to ground units.
     NH wrote that his rations consisted of one hot midday meal and a short loaf of bread, a pat of butter, and an apple; cold rations from which he made his breakfast and supper. Whatever else he could scrounge, he did.
     I was gobsmacked when I read that NH, a commissioned officer, flew wingman to a Feldwebel, a German sergeant. Most of my previous reading has been of the RAF. In the RAF, the officer always flew lead. Not so in the Luftwaffe. The more experienced pilot flew lead.
     Oh, and NH was quartered with the men of his Schwarm, including the sergeants. Officers and NCOs bunked together and messed together. (cf: Spitfires, Thunderbolts, and Warm Beer).

     NH reported that he was shocked when he saw the prisoners of Dachau. Maybe he was. I read Hans Ulrich Rudel, Stuka Pilot, too, and Uli said he knew nothing of concentration or extermination camps. I have never heard a German of that time say they knew of any such camps. That includes my German relatives.
     You did not notice that one day there were Jews in town and the next day they were gone? Did you think Tinker Bell flew them away to Neverland?

     In the interview at the link, NH said the English version came first and the German version later. NH did not authorize some of the changes in the German version and explicitly disapproved it.

     John Weal evidently compiled the book from interviews with NH. It is a masterpiece of biography. You editor-wannabees out there would do well to study this book. The editing is outstanding.

     The photos in the book are from NH's private collection.


2.8. Links: Norbert Hannig

2.9. Buy the book: Luftwaffe Fighter Ace