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The Lady Be Good: Mystery Bomber of World…

The Lady Be Good: Mystery Bomber of World War II

by Dennis E. McClendon

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"The Lady Be Good" is the story of a classic unsolved mystery of the missing-ship type - except this one was actually solved, quite thouroughly and comprehensively. The Lady be Good was a WWII American bomber that disappeared without a trace over the Mediterranean until it was found, largely intact, in the North African a decade later. The combination of the desert's preservation, the speed at which it was found, and the training and endurance of the men who crewed her (one of them even kept a diary until the very end!) made it possible to reconstruct in detail the story of her crash and what happened to her men in the desert afterward.

And what a story this is! I really recommend this as reading for anyone who is interested in (or writing about) desert survival. It's a tragic story, because they all died, but the story of how they survived for far longer than anyone thought possible is an amazing read. I did spend some time thinking that the author was a bit too interested in, and enthusiastic about, details of US Military procedure, until I realized that he had been through much of the same training and experiences as the men of the Lady Be Good, and was still a major in the Air Force at the time the book was written. So he gets a pass there.

...I did find amusing, among all the general heroism and tragedy of the story, the way in which the story of the rediscovery of the plane generally goes "Somebody exploring the desert for oil find something accidentally - the US Military calls in their highly-trained specialists and spends months and millions of dollars searching for more before they give up and go home - a week later, somebody exploring the desert for oil accidentally finds something else - repeat several times." Strangely, the author never actually pointed this pattern out, for some reason...
  melannen | Oct 4, 2010 |
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Describes the finding of a World War II bomber in the Libyan desert in 1959, the events leading up to its loss, and the fate of the crew.
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