Sunday, December 01, 2019

A $20 Christmas letter


We can send an email around the world at virtually no cost, and have a video conference for pennies a minute. So it's hard for us to understand (or remember, in my case) how slow and expensive it was to exchange information and affection in what my young neighbor calls the Dark Ages. On November 17, 1941, RT Smith of the 3rd Squadron Hell's Angels, stationed at Toungoo airfield north of Rangoon, sent a letter to his mother and father in California. The cost was 3 rupees, 15 annas, and 3 pies -- about one dollar in US currency, when a dollar bill was worth about twenty of today's. $20 to send Christmas greetings to the folks at home! More about this envelope on the Annals of the Flying Tigers

Reviewed for December on the Warbird's Book Club are An Impeccable Spy, the biography of Richard Sorge, Stalin's agent in Tokyo in 1941, and Retreat from Moscow, a new and mostly convincing history of Germany's successful withdrawal in the winter of 1941-1942. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford