Monday, 15 September 2014

Who likes Massacre 747? William Stephenson likes Massacre 747… or did. Me? I thought it was fine as far as instant books go. But then all Richard Rohmer books are instant books, right? Researchers are hired, blank cassettes are purchased and the dictator begins.

I admit I was impressed that Rohmer took the time to sit in a flight simulator – that is until I realized I was impressed that Rohmer took the time to sit in a flight simulator. What I was doing, of course, was giving credit for something that any writer might have done. Okay, maybe Sy Hersh didn’t – or did he? – but the Polk Award-winner interviewed all sorts of people, including aviation experts and members of the American military. What’s more, he travelled to the Soviet Union to meet Georgi M. Kornienko and Nikolai V. Ogarkov.

Rohmer, as Chris has pointed out, read some newspaper clippings.

Case in point: The description of Ogarkov’s news conference belongs to The New York Times. Rohmer tells us repeatedly that the reporter used the words “spellbinding performance”. What anyone else thought, never mind the author, is anyone's guess.

Ogarkov wields a pointer and wins “a classic rhetoric victory over the United States.” Writes Dictates the master of hyperbole: “It was the most successful disinformation and propaganda achievement in modern times.” Ronald Reagan's own disinformation campaign – all that stuff about the weather, visibility, navigational lights and radios – is ignored.

Rohmer's main argument is that the Soviets knew were shooting down a commercial airliner because they knew the Americans would never use a plane to spy on Soviet military installations. After all, they have the KH11 satellite, which can detect bolts lying on the deck of a ship (see Retaliation). And that is why the United States stopped using the U-2 in 1976.

Except that it still does.

Sy Hersh’s book took two-and-a-half years to write.

Has anyone else noticed that not one of the four non-fiction books we've read to date has featured citations, endnotes or a bibliography?

1 comment:

  1. You can see Rohmer doing the math on including those things -- endnotes, etc. On the one hand: Fills pages, so you can repeat things less. On the other hand: You'd probably have to pay someone to do it, which comes out of the author's end. Do you think Rohmer drew the cover for Red Arctic himself?