Endow, Kay Karl
Title Transpacific Wings
Book Condition Fine
Jacket Condition Near Fine Jacket
Edition First Edition
Publisher Los Angeles Wetzel Publishing Co., Inc. 1935
Seller ID 004816
The great Japanese-American aeronautics novel! Or at least the first! Inscribed twice by author, who was hopeful through this work to improve Japanese-American relations. 8vo. 332,  pp. The author, as a Japanese-American, seems to have earnestly, if futilely, dedicated his story to building stronger ties between Japan and the United States. Pearl Harbor was over six years away, but relations between Japan and the U.S. were strained throughout the late thirties, as American sympathies reached out to the Chinese victims of Japan's conquest of Manchuria and attacks on China elsewhere. Yet in the plot of this novel, the young buck pilots embark on a daring, yet unprecedented non-stop flight from Nebraska to Tokyo, packaging their mission as one meant to promote goodwill and greater understanding between the two nations. (The first successful non-stop transpacific flight, from Japan to Washington State, had occurred in 1931, but the flight done in this novel went along the long global bulge instead of arc-ing north.) As a sine qua non in such a story, the transpacific flight encounters a typhoon, and then a co-pilot loses his mind and a struggle ensues between the two pilots, but the plane ultimately reaches its destination and the pilots are celebrated, only for one to have a life and death crisis on a shorter flight. No novel, though, can be built strictly on the operation of machinery through various technical and climactic challenges, and so this novel belongs squarely in that genre that might be pegged, airmen, their machines and their women! The human drama that unfolds here, alas, never lifts off the ground. The characters don't seem real, their conflicts, stilted, forced, and decidedly un-compelling. Yet it is this weakness in the novel that makes in fascinating in a strange way. Endow makes all his characters Caucasian. Regarding himself as an assimilated Japanese-American, Endow probably thought he knew and understood these people. Yet instead he created cartoon characters instead, perhaps in a manner that evokes Ayn Rand. Minor edgewear to the DJ, with miniscule chipping along the spine extremities. A few spots of darkening to the leaves -- remnants of where loose paper might have been lodged for a time.