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California Literary ReviewMay 2008 | California Literary Review California Literary Review

Archive for May, 2008

Nancy Love and the WASP Ferry Pilots of World War II by Sarah Byrn Rickman

by
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Elinor
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Teele

May 27th, 2008

They were also a PR dream. Initially working for her future husband, Robert Love, the young and pretty Nancy Harkness was hired to demonstrate and sell airplanes. Predicted to replace the family car, the private plane was seen as the wave of the future. If women could fly it, the perception was, anybody could. What Love thought of all of this malarkey, the cheesecake photographs and press coverage, is hard to determine.

The Right Side of the Tracks

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Jem
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Bloomfield

May 20th, 2008

Detective fiction revels in the possibilities offered by railway travel, but it also expresses some anxiety about them. The ability to travel across Britain at such speeds was exciting, but also potentially unsettling for a social system which still, in many ways, preferred that people remained “in their place”. When Sir Henry Baskerville is being followed by an unknown bearded man in London, he suspects it may be the butler from Baskerville Hall, and sends a telegram to check whether or not “Barrymore is at his post in Devonshire.”

High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed

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John
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Holt

May 15th, 2008

All of this pales in comparison to the obscene madness that has now become the fate of Base Camp at Mount Everest. The 8,000-meter peaks of the Himalayas have become the unfortunate repositories for what is repugnant about human nature with very little innate goodness surviving. Dying climbers pushed aside, ignored and denied medical help while their equipment is stolen, greedy guides unethical to the point of criminal, drugs, alcoholism, prostitution – hell this could just as well be inner city New York or Saigon as 20,000 feet above sea level in what used to be one of the most remote landscapes on earth. Everest has become the poster child for this debauchery.

Curses on You, White Men!

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George Franklin
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Feldman

May 12th, 2008

The inhumane acts committed by both sides in this war equal the most heinous crimes of history. The hate was uncontrollable. The Indians sought revenge and a return to their way of life before colonization, and the New Englanders felt they had God on their side. The renowned Puritan preacher and scholar Cotton Mather asserted that “. . . the Evident Hand of Heaven appearing on the Side of a people whose Hope and Help was alone in the Almighty Lord of Hosts, Extinguished whole Nations of Savages.”

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews

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Elinor
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Teele

May 7th, 2008

Again, it took an intervention, this time by Moss Hart, to point her in the right direction. She doesn’t say much about what he did in the 48 hours of rehearsal that he devoted to her, but she does include one of his most memorable lines. When asked by his wife how the session had gone, he replied, “Oh she’ll be fine. She has that terrible British strength that makes you wonder how they ever lost India.” My Fair Lady was a hit and she belted it, day in, day out, both on Broadway and in London, fitting in her twenty-first birthday and a marriage to Tony Walton in the meantime.

Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns

by
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Mike
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May 5th, 2008

“Tufts and Tenen saw themselves as guardians of the cave. They were extremely concerned that their discovery could be looted and destroyed, as had happened to other caves in southern Arizona. They were determined to preserve its pristine quality. They became obsessed with secrecy, and hired a lawyer to write out a legally binding secrecy document that they insisted that anyone whom they had any reason to tell about the cave must sign. Tenen even made his future wife sign a secrecy document on their second date!”

The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories: Flash Fiction from Contemporary China

by
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Elinor
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Teele

May 5th, 2008

Flash fiction, or the “smoke-long story,” or the “skinny story,” as it is sometimes called in China, is short, true. But as anyone who has tried to write a thank you card knows, brevity ain’t easy. Nor is it truly fair to view this book as a kind of primer on all thoughts Chinese. After all, one doesn’t expect E. Annie Proulx’s work to bear much relation to T.C. Boyle’s, despite the shared vocabulary.

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