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J. Douglas Harvey.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1983.
263pp, cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 0-7710-4049-0.

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by Alfred F. Greenwood

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

J. Douglas Harvey, holder of the DFC and Canadian Forces Decoration, spent twenty-two years in the Royal Canadian Air Force. When he retired in 1965 with the rank of Wing Commander, he was Director of Public Relations. He wrote the best-selling Boys, Bombs and Brussel Sprouts.* The title, "The Tumbling Mirth," is taken from the wonderful poem, "High Flight," by John Gillespie Magee Junior.

This book is a collection of stories, reminiscences, and jokes about life in the RCAF. Many are amusing, a few hilarious, some sombre and thought-provoking. The oft-told chestnuts and the apocryphal oldies take their unabashed pride of place. Good cartoons are sprinkled throughout, some captioned and funny. Too many, however, appear without explanation or caption and with no apparent connection to the text.

The best selections in this book have little to do with mirth: the stories of operations expressing the fear and seldom-voiced terror of aircrew in their fight for survival, the horrifying slaughter of fifty recaptured officer escapees from a prisoner of war camp, the near miraculous installation of windows made in 1870 into No. 4 Wing's chapel at Baden Solingen, the poignant tale of the invisible Bedouin child who liked candy.

Old Sweats will enjoy browsing through their past. The uninitiated, however, may be a bit thrown by in-jokes, expressions, and terminology.

*Reviewed vol. X/4 November 1982 p.243.

Alfred F. Greenwood, Victoria, BC.
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