My favorite European Veteran Author is… Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: WWII French combat pilot, killed in action in the Mediterranean Theater.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
We all read “The Little Prince” at too young an age to appreciate what Saint-Exupery was writing- a critique of society, using a children’s story[mcguffin?] to convey the message. If you out-right lecture grown-ups, they become defensive and do not listen.
“Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”
Who likes being lectured? If you tell an interesting story, relateable but distant or removed, the reader will think about the story and the message gets some brain time.
St. Exupery’s life was one adventure after an other. His books, detailing his flying adventures, put the reader in the cockpit of his air-mail plane, right next to the chain smoking mechanic and mail bags.
Flying at a time when there was minimal radios, weather forecasting was still in its infancy and mechanical reliability not quite to Six Sigma standards.
Planes fell out of the sky, crashed into mountains and became lost in bad weather, until they ran out of fuel.
“The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.”
The combat pilot/author/airmail pioneer wrote of his experiences flying mail from France to Africa and South America.
Some of St. Exupery’s work include: ‘Night Flight’, Flight to Arras’, ‘Wind, Sand and Stars’ and ‘Southern mail’. And of course my favorite ‘The Little Prince’; which I secretly think- maybe really wish, is non-fiction. Perhaps I have not fully grown up.
Sadly, Antoine’s life, like my favorite American veteran author, Hemingway, was cut far too short during his last combat flight. He did not have to go back to war, but he did.
“He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.”