Sunday, December 5, 2010


Blaine Pardoe will be signing books on
Tuesday at 7 p.m. at University of Michigan’s
Hatcher Graduate Library, Room 100,
913 S. University, Ann Arbor.

Tom Weschler and Gary Graff will be signing books
on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Schuler Books and Music,
Eastwood Towne Center, Lansing.

Two recent books will make ideal gifts for the holiday season for historians, although there’s likely to be a wide variance in the readership. One is great for military historians interested in World War I and II while the other is aimed at die-hard rock and roll fans.

“Lost Eagles” by Blaine Pardoe (University of Michigan Press, $32.50) is subtitled “One Man’s Mission to Find Missing Airmen in Two World Wars.”

It focuses on Frederick Zinn, a virtually unknown native of Galesburg MI. He has played a vital role in tracking down information used in determining the final fate of airmen missing in action.

Pardoe covers Zinn’s lengthy career during World War I, when he was initially a member of the French Foreign Legion. He became the first American aviation combat photographer, but devoted most of his efforts to locating missing airmen.

Zinn’s unusual spying duties during World War II are also carefully examined, when he worked for the top secret Office of Special Services (OSS).

Sections offering insights into the lives and disappearance of the missing flyers follow chapters of Zinn’s mesmerizing biography.

The well-researched volume includes photos, footnotes, a bibliography and a brief section on the fate of the missing airmen. Many methods Zinn originated are still in use today, This excellent, fitting memorial provides a moving tribute and well-deserved recognition. to an overlooked heroic figure.

“Travelin’ Man – On the Road and Behind the Scenes with Bob Seger”
by Tom Weschler and Gary Graff (Wayne State University Press, $18.95) is not a biography of Bob Seger and his assorted bands.

Instead it showcases over 150 Weschler photographs of Seger’s early career, beginning in 1969 through the late 1970’s and beyond.

There are many sharp images of a smiling, young Seger in assorted recording studios and on the road, including visits to MSU, U of M and the 1970 Goose Lake International Music Festival.

Numerous photos have long detailed captions, providing insights into Seger, his creativity and many different band members.

John Mellencamp offers a brief foreword, with Kid Rock supplying an afterword; this distinctive oversized paperback is a real treat for former hippies and good old-time rock and roll fans.

(Originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, December 5, 2010.)

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

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