Book Recommendation: D-Day Girls

In between gardening and other things, starting to read D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose. I have a backlog of things I need to read, including this, The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future, The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic, and about 85 others, but I really wanted to read this one first. It caught my eye when I saw someone retweet the author (her twitter is @thesarahrose), and I was immediately interested because my mom is fascinated with female codebreakers (among one of her many niche fascinations). So I started talking to her, mentioned my mom had read other books in this area, learned that Sarah had written a book called For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History, bought it, liked it, and got a copy of D-Day Girls.

Mom inhaled it in a few days and loved it and wrote a glowing blurb:

So that is on my schedule this weekend, mainly because I am interested, but also because I will have something to talk about with my mom other than stupid Pirates baseball which she loves but makes my eyes glaze over.






115 replies
  1. 1
    Steve in the ATL says:

    You read a book? Liberal elitist.

  2. 2
    Reboot says:

    Re: the millenials v. baby boomers book, I think I’d have a hard time finding Wall Street Journal editorial board members (of which the author is one) all that credible on economics. Their wedge-issue expertise, though….A+.

  3. 3
    J. says:

    Thank you for that book recommendation, John — and John’s mom! I just added D-Day Girls and For All the Tea in China to my reading list. Both sound great. Has your mom read Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy? If not, tell her to check it out. And while you’re at it, have her check out my mystery series, too. The books are perfect for a long weekend (fun, light reading). :-)

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    @Reboot: I like to read different viewpoints even if they are garbage

  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    The Theft of a Decade is bullshit. D-Day Girls looks interesting, even though the writing is pedestrian at best, judging by the sample at Amazon. I am intrigued enough to order it, because I love books that try to reclaim women who have been omitted from history.

  6. 6
    Stan says:

    These women (and many men in the SOE etc) were cruelly used by the British government, which wanted to look like they were fighting a war rather than really fighting one. It takes nothing away from their incredible courage and dedication to acknowledge this reality.

  7. 7
    VeniceRiley says:

    I assume you (and your mom) have read this bestseller
    The Woman Who Smashed Codes? (I loved it)
    Your recs are definitely going on my list.

    https://www.amazon.com/Woman-Who-Smashed-Codes-Outwitted/dp/0062430513/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3V15BG2A50SG3&keywords=the+woman+who+smashed+codes&qid=1558717185&s=gateway&sprefix=the+woman+who+smashed%2Caps%2C175&sr=8-2

  8. 8
    satby says:

    Now I have a bunch more books to read! Yay!

  9. 9
    Leto says:

    I’m currently reading it and really enjoying it. I have a few books on women code breakers that I picked up in England (lived in the Milton Keynes area) so all of this is also of interest to me.

  10. 10
    Reboot says:

    @John Cole: A book report on this one would be interesting…. A memory that sticks with me as a baby boomer is having a conversation with a well-off older retired couple smugly telling me “You gotta have a [financial] plan,” despite the fact that the economic conditions they’d enjoyed had been long gone by that time. I might as well have been a millenial.

  11. 11
    Phylllis says:

    @Stan: Absolutely. I am listening to ‘A Woman of No Consequence’ about Virginia Hall, and that is woven through the story. Getting D-Day Girls from library this afternoon, sot it’s my weekend reading as well.

  12. 12
    Stan says:

    @Brachiator: The Theft of a Decade is bullshit.

    Agreed; I read an interview with the author a few days ago. Utter waste of time and paper

  13. 13
    VeniceRiley says:

    I’m thinking of getting an Anne Lister code tattoo. Have yet to decide what I want it to say. Perhaps a quote? Oh, and excellent news BTW, Gentleman Jack is renewed for season 2 already.

  14. 14
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    @J.: Hi J. Thank you for the recommendations. I am always looking for good mysteries.

  15. 15
    Bex says:

    You and your mom might like Transcription by Kate Atkinson. Not coding exactly, but spying!

  16. 16
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    Hi John, please tell your mom thank you for the recommendation.

    My mom passed away 8 years ago and I miss our conservations every day. You are so blessed and lucky to have those conservations with your mom. Enjoy them.

  17. 17
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T, but just read that Jerry Nadler apparently fainted at an event in NYC today. He was hospitalized and hydrated and is feeling better, but shit, we really need all our folks to stay healthy. Hope this proves to be an ephemeral and soon-forgotten event. GWS, Jerry!

  18. 18

    I remember reading a book by a British author who grew up on a tea plantation in India, about tea, which covers pretty much the same ground. Guess what Tea is called in Marathi? Cha which is what the Chinese called tea. Mumbai was the hub of the tea and opium trade, that’s how it became the city it is now.

    ETA: The name of the book escapes me now.
    ETA2: Pet peeve when people order chai tea at Starbucks they are ordering tea tea.

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Back on topic, I am very fond of the Maggie Hope series by Susan Elia Macneal (Mr. Churchill’s Secretary is the first in the series). They take place during WWII and are set mostly, but not exclusively, in England. They absolutely must be read in order:

    Maggie Hope Mystery Series

    Mr. Churchill’s Secretary [Bantam Dell/Random House, April 2012]
    Princess Elizabeth’s Spy [Bantam Dell/Random House, October 2012]
    His Majesty’s Hope [Bantam Dell/Random House, May 2013]
    The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent [Bantam, 2014]
    Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante [Bantam, October 2015]
    The Queen’s Accomplice [Bantam 2016]
    The Paris Spy [Random House 2017]
    The Prisoner in the Castle [Random House 2018]

  20. 20
    Brachiator says:

    @Stan:

    These women (and many men in the SOE etc) were cruelly used by the British government, which wanted to look like they were fighting a war rather than really fighting one.

    From reading and interviews, I get the impression that a lot of SOE operations were amateurish, poorly planned and executed, and ended up failing, with the Germans quickly apprehending agents. And even the exploits of the Resistance were overrated.

    This doesn’t disparage the courage of the people involved, but damn, they were often sacrificed for no good purpose.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    I’m reading Hemingway and Bimini and then I’m going to read Blues by John Hersey.

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    This sounds super good. I think I’ll add it to my kindle. If I could ask the hive mind, I got introduced to a website where the really big voice contracts hang out and I see some projects that sound perfect for me with good pay. Like, really good. BUT, it costs $500 to get the membership level where I can submit my auditions. I mean, damn! I can charge it, but I’m balking. That’s quite a sum for a 1 out of 5 or 10 or 100 chance. But what do I know? It might be worth it. Thoughts?

  23. 23
    DHD says:

    For a somewhat more difficult, but equally engrossing read, I highly recommend The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievitch, which tells the story of (some of) the million or so women who fought, many on the front lines, for the Soviet Union in WWII, and were promptly forgotten both at home and abroad for decades afterwards.

  24. 24
    raven says:

    @Brachiator: Ever see Plenty with Streep and Tracey Ullman?

    Susan Traherne has been irreparably changed by her wartime experiences as a Resistance fighter. She sets out in the post-war world to make her way to what she wants, no matter who is hurt, or how.

    Meryl is really unlikeable but it’s an interesting study of someone who just can’t get off anymore after their war gig.

  25. 25
    Raven says:

    @DHD: God, I read “Ivan’s War” about Russian grunts. . . nasty shit.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Brachiator: A good half of things done by any side in any war throughout history have been amateurish and poorly planned and executed.

  27. 27
    dimmsdale says:

    Thanks for the recommendation, John. The “Bletchley gals” have been a favorite topic of mine; here’s an article (with embedded videos) about some of the survivors. (Interesting to note that because of the Official Secrets Act, some of these women never even told their own families what they did, until the Act was lifted in the 1970s.) Link: https://www.history.org.uk/historian/categories/809/module/8319/filmed-interview-the-women-of-bletchley-park

    I can personally recommend “Code Name Pauline: Memoirs of a World War II Special Agent”, about a SOE-trained operative who parachuted behind German lines in France, and came to command a rather large string of spies; something unheard of for women at the time. (One of the pleasures of the book is reading about her learning to take command in a ‘man’s world’.)

    The MHZ series “A French Village” features a subplot involving a French woman who gradually assumes command of a band of Maquis; the series is compulsively watchable partly due to this subplot.

    Finally, I’ll go away, but will just mention the WASP–Womens Army Service Pilots, women in the US who answered the country’s call by volunteering to fly aircraft around the US from factory to field, or from one field to another, or to tow targets for pilots to shoot at, in order to spare male pilots for overseas duty. Some were already pilots when they volunteered, but most weren’t, and braved the usual male misogynist attitudes to uproot themselves from their homes for a dry, dusty, windswept airfield in remote Texas, where some of them died in flying accidents, and all of them were mostly unheralded for their bravery because that’s who we were back then.

    Here’s one such WASP’s story, and there are plenty more on Amazon and elsewhere by and about these women; picture scrapbooks, first-person accounts, fictionalized versions, YA books and so on.

    https://www.amazon.com/Final-Flight-Fight-Grandmother-Arlington/dp/1733560602

  28. 28
    germy says:

    @ruemara: I would go for it.

    If you don’t, you might regret it.

  29. 29
    germy says:

    @schrodingers_cat: “The Empire of Tea” ?

  30. 30
    Doug R says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    ETA2: Pet peeve when people order chai tea at Starbucks they are ordering tea tea.

    Short and tall are old Germanic English words. Grande is French. Venti is Italian. The Venti Frappacino™ is 24 ounces, IIRC.

  31. 31
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    You read a book know how to read? Liberal elitist.

    Fixed. :)

  32. 32
    Dave says:

    My Mom was not a D-Day girl. However, she was a WAC (Corporal), and was in Paris a week after it was liberated. My Dad was a fighter pilot (P-47’s) based in Duxford, England (near Cambridge). He flew 74 missions, including D-Day. They were married in London in December, 1944. I’m very proud of both of them, and their service to our country. They remained proud Democrats for the rest of their lives, and raised 5 of us to be the same. They both died in 2004, and I’m betting they’re spinning in their graves over what’s happening in our country today.

    Travel note: if you’re ever in London, it’s worth a day to visit Cambridge, and the airfield at Duxford. Most of the original buildings are still there, stuffed with historical artifacts. There is also the American Air Museum on the grounds, well worth the time. Duxford was and remains a grass airfield. Because of their limited range, the P-47’s launched off the grass strip 8-abreast, to get as many in the air as quickly as possible for their trips across the Channel. The casualty rate was around 50%, with 35% fatalities. I guess that means I’m lucky to be here.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Doug R: English is a magpie language; it’s been one since at least the Norman Conquest.

  34. 34
    Miss Bianca says:

    @ruemara: It’s a gamble, to be sure. Might pay off big, in which case, whee! Real question for me would be how much I would regret losing the money if it didn’t pay off big.

    On the one, “pay to play” rankles. On the other, if that’s what it takes…

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ruemara:

    Are there current members whose opinion you can ask? Also, who is the organization asking for the fee — does it represent the actors or the employers? If it’s the actors, what you have there may be a trade organization or nascent union, and those are the dues. Make sure you find out what benefits you get for joining -– for example, since RWA is a trade organization, they can help members who have been plagiarized figure out how to take legal action.

    If it represents the employers, I would be a lot more wary.

  37. 37
    zhena gogolia says:

    I made the mistake of being like Cole and carefully watching the progress of nesting, hatching, and feeding of baby robins right outside my living room window. Yesterday crows came and ate at least one of the young birds alive (that I saw; I assume they got them all).

    Now the robins are starting another nest in the same place. I’m going to ignore them totally. I can’t protect them, and I can’t take another heartache like yesterday.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    In the realm of new history within areas that people had assumed were already well-trodden, I’m working my way through Daniel Livesay’s Children of Uncertain Fortune, which is about wealthy mixed-race people in Jamaica and Great Britain in the Georgian/Regency Era from 1733-1833. I’ve finished the first chapter and its copious endnotes and already discovered a wealthy mixed-race woman from Jamaica who married into the Scottish aristocracy in the 1750s-ish when she married one of the younger sons of the Earl of Fife.

    For Regency fans, this means that Georgette Heyer was full of shit and Great Britain during the Regency was far more racially diverse than she ever admitted. Sorry, but it’s true.

  39. 39

    @Doug R: I have no problem with words from other languages, that’s how languages grow. I say call it chai or call it tea. There is no need to call it tea tea. That’s redundant. YMMV.

  40. 40

    @Doug R: I have no problem with words from other languages, that’s how languages grow. I say call it chai or call it tea. There is no need to call it tea tea. That’s redundant. YMMV.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    English supports a lot of redundancies, which is one of the things that makes it so bizarre. Take commenter Bill’s hometown of Glendale — “glen” and “dale” both mean “small valley,” so technically he lives in “Valleyvalley.”

    I blame the French, personally.

  42. 42

    @Mnemosyne: But Glendale is a proper noun, so the comparison is not exact.

  43. 43
    Brachiator says:

    @dimmsdale:

    Finally, I’ll go away, but will just mention the WASP–Womens Army Service Pilots, women in the US who answered the country’s call by volunteering to fly aircraft around the US from factory to field, or from one field to another, or to tow targets for pilots to shoot at, in order to spare male pilots for overseas duty.

    It is always sad to have to note that the WASP program had to capitulate to racism and exclude women of color. A horrible compromise.

  44. 44
    Ixnay says:

    @Dave: Can confirm. One of the highlights of our trip to England was Duxford (at least for Mr. I). Flying examples of Spits and Tiger Moths operate, and there’s a large restoration shop rebuilding aircraft from the era. The day I visited was raining, and I could imagine the pilots thinking, “Thank, God, no flying today mates.”

  45. 45
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: *snerk* If I were going to get on GH’s case for anything, it would be her casual anti-Semitism, which was also a hallmark of the upper crust and would-be upper crust of English society. It’s certainly much more prominently on display in her works than racism, if I recall my Heyer correctly.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    It’s a proper noun the way the La Brea Tar Pits has become a proper noun — somebody jammed words together even though they were redundant because they thought it sounded good.

    FWIW, most Americans think of “Chai” as a particular flavor of tea, like Earl Grey or English Breakfast, because most “chai” you can get in the store is black tea leaves flavored with cardamom, vanilla, ginger, etc.

    @Miss Bianca:

    Heyer’s racism is more in what she deleted and left out than in what she actually wrote. There’s a big issue in the romance world right now with (some) Regency writers and readers arguing that it’s okay if modern-day Regency romances continue Heyer’s whitewashing of history because it’s “escapist,” and then they get mad when people ask them why they insist on “escaping” to an all-white fantasy world without any pesky but historically correct Black British or Indian British people in it. 🙄

  47. 47
    Monala says:

    Everybody forgets about Gen X. We don’t have much of a future, either.

  48. 48
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Pet peeve when people order chai tea at Starbucks they are ordering tea tea.

    Let’s be fair. Anything ordered at Starbucks doesn’t qualify as tea in the first place.

  49. 49
    TenguPhule says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    A good half of things done by any side in any war throughout history have been amateurish and poorly planned and executed.

    Just half?

  50. 50

    @Mnemosyne: Indian British? The term British people born in India or people of both Indian and British origins like to call themselves is Anglo-Indian.:

    FWIW, most Americans think of “Chai” as a particular flavor of tea, like Earl Grey or English Breakfast, because most “chai” you can get in the store is black tea leaves flavored with cardamom, vanilla, ginger, etc.

    I know, I just think it is wrong. Also the sugary and milky concoction sold as chai bears no resemblance to what most Indians will recognize as tea. Its like a beverage for children, who can’t handle caffeine and need everything to be sweet.

    ETA: Enough of my pedantry, how are you holding up? Do the other kittehs miss Annie?

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: It is my understanding that one of Victoria’s grandmothers was mixed race.

  52. 52
    ruemara says:

    @Mnemosyne: oooh that sounds good too.

    It’s a website. Like Staff Me Up, which charges $100 for premium access to reality & commercial crew gigs. Blacklist charges per script too. There are a ton of costs for below line people. I guess I’ll put it on the credit card, because what other options are there without an agent?

    You guys are lucky to know so much family history. IDK my parents’ birthdays, much less what my grandparents did.

  53. 53
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Also the sugary and milky concoction sold as chai bears no resemblance to what most Indians will recognize as tea.

    You may want to sit down after I tell you about the curry. //

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TenguPhule: A French Dip isn’t French either.

  55. 55

    @TenguPhule: That’s more an invention of an AngloIndian invention. I hate it, it is vile.

  56. 56

    @Mnemosyne:

    FWIW, most Americans think of “Chai” as a particular flavor of tea, like Earl Grey or English Breakfast, because most “chai” you can get in the store is black tea leaves flavored with cardamom, vanilla, ginger, etc.

    This sounds right to me. The word “Chai” in American English has been adapted from the Indian word for tea, but it no longer means “tea”. It’s an adjective used to modify “tea”, and means that the tea has been flavored with Indian-style spices. This kind of change in meaning is very common with loan words.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    There is exactly one (1) Black woman who was an official WASP, because she was made an honorary one decades later: Mildred Carter. She was also an official Tuskeegee Airman because of all of the work she and her pilot husband did both during and after the war.

  58. 58
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m working my way through Daniel Livesay’s Children of Uncertain Fortune, which is about wealthy mixed-race people in Jamaica and Great Britain in the Georgian/Regency Era from 1733-1833.

    Another book to put on my list. Thanks.

    I recall that Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon featured a “Miss Lambe, a “half mulatto” rich young woman of about seventeen from the West Indies.”

    Did you ever see the movie “Belle?”

  59. 59
  60. 60
    ruemara says:

    @Brachiator: I love that movie

  61. 61
    TenguPhule says:

    @Major Major Major Major: You mean the French Dressing was a lie?

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I blame the Belgians for that one.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Yeah, I steered away from saying “Anglo-Indian” because I didn’t mean only people of mixed heritage. There were also plenty of Indians living and working in England as servants, merchants, shopkeepers, etc. during that time period and later.

    Kittehs are doing okay without Annie — a little better than we are, probably. But it’s been a chaotic week because we had to fly up to San Jose for G’s graduation yesterday, so we think it’s going to hit all of us this weekend. 😢😿

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I’ve seen some comments along those lines recently, but I haven’t really looked into it. It would have been Charlotte, who was George III’s wife. She was a princess from one of the German states, but I can’t remember which of her ancestors may have been non-white. I’ll have to look it up.

    @ruemara:

    I would read the T&C’s very carefully, but it’s probably worth going for it. As I said, I suspect that people who find entertainment work online are using those membership sites as pseudo-unions to force employers to commit to a minimum wage for entertainment work. If that seems to be the case and you’re not signing away any actual rights, it seems like a not-too-heavy investment to automatically boost up your going rate.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hmm.

    For some reason I am thinking about the romance novels that as late as the early 80s were set in the ante-bellum South. Now *those* were cringe-worthy.

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s received some publicity lately because of the Sussexs.

  67. 67
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It is my understanding that one of Victoria’s grandmothers was mixed race.

    And speaking of Victoria, today is the bicentenary of her birth — in case nobody has mentioned it yet.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    The site is PISSING ME OFF today by force reloading the page on my iPad when I’m in the middle of replying to someone. Gah!

    @ruemara:

    You really can get a huge amount of genealogical information online these days — people have been scanning and OCRing tons of records. I don’t have any specific resources for non-US locations, but there’s probably information out there to be found. The Caribbean islands are a focus for a lot of historians right now, so there’s a lot more information available than there was even 10 years ago.

    @Brachiator:

    I keep meaning to see Belle, but I haven’t gotten around to it. The real-life woman on whom the story was based had a somewhat more tragic life because her father never provided a dowry for her, so she was unable to marry anyone at her social level.

    Probably the biggest historical mistake romance writers make is underestimating just how vital having a dowry was. The reason the Gunnell sisters were so famous in their time was that they were three out of (at least) hundreds of young upper-class women who succeeded in marrying well despite having no dowry. They were far more exceptional than modern readers can really understand. Even for middle-class young women, no dowry meant no chance of marrying, ever.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    One of these days, when I get my author blog up and running, I’m going to write about one of those early 80s antebellum romances that was hugely influential on me. The author tried to make the plotline less toxic by setting it in Colonial America (pre-Revolution), having a major subplot where the hero frees all of the slaves after he marries the heroine, and having a subplot romance between two Black characters.

    It’s not entirely successful, as you can imagine, but at least she tried! The author was Candace Camp writing under a previous pseudonym.

  70. 70
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: And the Gunnell sisters only managed it by being fabulously beautiful, if I recall correctly. So, plain *and* no dowry? To quote the great John Crichton, “we are so screwed.”

  71. 71
    EthylEster says:

    Never Caught. The story of Martha Washington’s favorite house slave who ran away from Philly when the temp Presidential residence was there. I learned many things. Washington was a dick about the escape. I had thought better of him, knowing he planned to free them at some point.

    Also I finally got around to reading Frederick Douglass’ slave narrative. Short but not sweet.

  72. 72
    Cacti says:

    @EthylEster:

    Didn’t GW have a set of dentures made from slave teeth?

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:

    @ruemara:

    I love that movie

    Yep. It was a delight. A woman friend almost snapped my head off when I mentioned a small historical inaccuracy that gnawed at me, but which did not mar my enjoyment of the film.

    I think the director Amma Asante, has a new film out, but I’m not sure whether it has opened in the US.

  74. 74
    Mike in NC says:

    Saw a movie years ago starring David Niven, “A Man Called Intrepid”, about the SOE. I recall it was pretty good but have had no luck finding it on DVD.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Miss Bianca: Some of the Bennet girls managed it.

  76. 76
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Fiction assumes evidence not in fact. ; )

    To quote Oscar Wilde, (which I get to do, since we are producing “The Importance of Being Earnest”: “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”

    On a less frivolous note, Austen does have some of the characters in P & P note that Lizzie is courting impoverished spinsterhood by refusing to marry “prudently”. Of course, they are largely unsympathetic characters, so the threat is diminished somewhat in its impact, but even so…

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Austen was writing a contemporary romance in what is now the “billionaire bad boy” subgenre. Note that she carefully doesn’t fly too high with Mr. Darcy: he’s rich and has relatives who are aristocrats, but he has no title of his own and is not in line for one. He’s also an orphan and over the age of 21, so he has no parent or guardian who can gainsay him once he makes up his mind.

    Modern romance novelists have dukes marrying dowerless girls right and left. I don’t mind it when the author addresses it, but some authors don’t even seem to realize it’s a potential pitfall that needs to be discussed.

  78. 78
    Brachiator says:

    @EthylEster:

    Never Caught. The story of Martha Washington’s favorite house slave who ran away from Philly when the temp Presidential residence was there. I learned many things. Washington was a dick about the escape. I had thought better of him, knowing he planned to free them at some point.

    The story of Ona Judge is a very interesting read.

    Also see Ties That Bound: Founding First Ladies and Slaves, which touches on Judge’s escape, and is a very good, somber read.

    Washington could not free Martha Washington’s slaves, inherited from her father. They did not belong to the president and he had a legal duty to preserve them as property for Martha’s children.

  79. 79
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Edward IV married down and look where it go him. A fistful of greedy in-laws and shitload of annoyed counselors.

  80. 80
    Yutsano says:

    @ruemara: Would you mind if I check with my friend Lucas about this? He’s a voice actor and actor down there. Something sounds fishy but I want to get you every opportunity I can too. I’ll check if he’s available.

  81. 81
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Trollope is pretty good on this stuff.

  82. 82
    Xavier Onassis says:

    @Brachiator: Theft of a Decade probably is bad, but I’m wondering why since I haven’t read it.

    If us Boomers are screwing Millennials it’s by not leaving them with the education and infrastructure they need to create their own wealth and prosperity. If it’s fiscal deficit hysteria again, it’s the same old bullshit.

  83. 83
    Leto says:

    @Dave: My base, RAF Croughton, still has many of the original fighter pits. Places where they park, refuel, and rearm. Was a very neat place to see history first hand.

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    ruemara says:

    @Yutsano: no, absolutely not. Guidance is welcome.

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    Yutsano says:

    @ruemara: Thanks. If nothing else maybe he can ask his agent about it although I don’t know if he has representation right now.

    He’s also not answering me right now but there could be a ton of reasons for that.

    Jeebus Yutsy English isn’t THAT flexible!

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    JustRuss says:

    @schrodinger_cat: Does your house have a hot water heater?

  87. 87
    TomatoQueen says:

    I can strongly recommend two books by Sarah Helm on the subject of SOE: A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII, and its companion If This is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck, Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women both thoroughly researched, beautifuly written, and keep-you-up-until-all-hours bravery and heartache.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    @Doug R:
    The word grande for tall/big is in a number of Romance languages, and in the Starbucks context has the Italian pronunciation. I haven’t been to Starbucks in a while, but if I recall correctly venti is Italian for twenty, and a Venti-sized drink is 20oz.

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    Mnemosyne says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Trollope is Victorian Era, which had a totally different set of mores. In many ways, the Victorian Era was a reaction against the much more freewheeling Georgian Era where social roles (including racial ones) were in danger of shifting, and the Victorians needed to clamp down on that shit.

  90. 90
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I remember reading that “frenching” is a word for how the potatoes are cut into fries before frying. The French don’t have a special name for fries; they’re just called pommes de terre frites — fried potatoes.

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    Annie says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I’d like to recommend David Downing’s books about John Russell. It’s a six-book series set in World War II. Russell is a British journalist living in Germany. He’s divorced from a German woman, has a young son and a German girlfriend. He wants to stay in Germany, and he also wants to take action against Hitler, without of course ending up dead or in a concentration camp. The first book opens in early 1939; the second and third go up to Pearl Harbor, and the series continues with Potsdam Station, set just as World War II ends. The books are:

    Zoo Station
    Silesian Station
    Stettin Station
    Potsdam Station
    Lehrter Station
    Masaryk Station

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    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I don’t feel like Googling for it right now, but IIRC they’re called “French” fries because Americans assumed that the French-speaking Belgians who introduced their way of cutting and frying potatoes to our country were French. We can be kind of dumb that way.

  93. 93
    EthylEster says:

    @Amir Khalid wrote: they’re just called pommes de terre frites

    Actually in France they are usually just called frites. As in steak frites and moules frites. So it’s just like here where we mostly say fries.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    The way Dutch angles were named in honour of a German (Deutsche) filmmaker?

  95. 95
    Amir Khalid says:

    @EthylEster:
    Well, pommes de terre frites is the full, seldom used name.

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    EthylEster says:

    @Brachiator wrote:

    Washington could not free Martha Washington’s slaves

    Yeah, that was one of the things I learned. But he owned a few slaves. I think his cook Hercules belonged to him and he also ran away. After living out of Virginia and seeing how black folks lived (free or not) in a city, no bondsman/bondswoman wanted to go back to the rural life. The Douglass slave narrative makes the same point. It made me realize that this country’s history was in part determined by the fact that the North was urban while the South was rural. One could beat the crap out of a slave in the country(and many owners did) but in the big city, and especially in a Northern big city, it was less common. And this is in 1800 basically, long before the abolitionist movement.

  97. 97
    Brachiator says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Well, pommes de terre frites is the full, seldom used name.

    And when you get down to it, “Earth apples” for potatoes is not very elegant.

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    EthylEster says:

    @Cacti: Didn’t GW have a set of dentures made from slave teeth?

    I don’t recall that being mentioned. I thought they were wooden. But they were evidently VERY uncomfortable.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    @Brachiator:
    Also not unique: A potato is also an Erdapfel in Austrian German.

  100. 100
    Brachiator says:

    @EthylEster:

    One could beat the crap out of a slave in the country(and many owners did) but in the big city, and especially in a Northern big city, it was less common.

    I’m not sure that this was true, but in any case, it was just one of many dilemmas that enslaved people had to deal with.

  101. 101
    Amir Khalid says:

    @EthylEster:
    It was not unheard of in those days for a poor person to sell their teeth to get by. (Denture makers paid extra for front teeth.) You may remember Fantine in Hugo’s Les Miserables doing just that.

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    dimmsdale says:

    @Dave: Dave, thanks for this. I may be in London later this year and I’ve been making a list of air/WWII related sites to visit: Beaulieu, Hendon, Halesworth, and now thanks to you Cambridge/Duxford. Just finished a terrific book called Hell Hawks, about the 365th Fighter Group, who flew P-47s on escort and bomb/strafing runs over France and Germany post D-Day. Great view of the life of a P-47 pilot.

  103. 103
    dimmsdale says:

    @Brachiator: Yes, and comments like yours remind me to check my white privilege, because while WASPs undoubtedly had to cope with incredible discrimination and condescension from male peers, and deserve respect for doing so, black service people indeed had it worse in their own way too. Segregation in the armed forces in WWII isn’t something usually mentioned when we talk about the “Greatest Generation,” but it was there, and it was evil, and it deserves to be remembered.

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    phein60 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Robert MacNeil (of MacNeil / Lehrer) authored an interesting volume, The Story of English, back in the mid-80’s, since we’re talking books.

    I remember an English professor talking about why poets love English: There are at least three words to choose from in any situation (French, Anglo-Saxon, Latin), so you’re never at a loss for rhymes.

  105. 105
    Dave says:

    @dimmsdale: Glad to be of a little help. My Dad was 8th Air Force, 78th Fighter Group, 56th Squadron. There is also a beautiful (not sure that’s the right word, but it is awe-inspiring) cemetery near Cambridge that we visited. Here’s a link: https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/cambridge-american-cemetery. My daughter and I visited when we were there several years ago. My Mom and Dad were fortunate to be at Duxford for the ground-breaking and also the dedication of the American War Museum at Duxford. They said they were treated like royalty by the Brits. I gather that many in the UK are very thankful for the Yanks that came over to fight. You’re right on target with your comment about bomber escort and the bombing and strafing runs. Dad told me that on a strafing run, when he fired the 8 wing-mounted 50 caliber machine guns, the recoil would knock 30-40 knots off the indicated airspeed. He never got in a dogfight, but flew lots of escort and bombing and strafing missions. Got hit with flak several times (once in the flaps just outside the cockpit), but the Thunderbolts (aka “Jugs”) were heavily armored and very sturdy. Flew it back to base with no trouble.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip.

    Dave

  106. 106

    @SiubhanDuinne: LBJ has nothing on Queen Vicky

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    J R in WV says:

    @Brachiator:

    This doesn’t disparage the courage of the people involved, but damn, they were often sacrificed for no good purpose.

    Something like the military and Special Forces of the US, right now, huh?

    Got’cha!

  108. 108
    J R in WV says:

    @JustRuss:

    Does your house have a hot water heater?

    If you have a tank full of hot water in the basement (or wherever), then you do have a hot water heater, as it is designed to heat water that is already hot.

    if you have a “tankless” water heater, then you don’t have a hot water heater, but just a water heater. If you mix up that nomenclature you can become redundant all over again.

    ;-)

  109. 109
    Dave says:

    @Raven: Thank you!

  110. 110
    suezboo says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    My late mother who was a genuine Cockney always referred to tea as “char”. As in “Sue, do you want a cuppa char?” Let’s speculate, just for fun, that it originated in the East End Docklands where the tea from India and China was unloaded.

  111. 111
    dimmsdale says:

    @Dave: Thanks, Dave. Just checked the Duxford website (the Imperial War Museum site); “Duxford” is one of those names permanently associated in my brain with the Battle of Britain; that P-47s were based there was news to me). So that’s a full day of my trip right there! Cheers, as they say!

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  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @EthylEster:
    @Brachiator:

    It’s not so much that it was less common for slaves to be beaten in an urban area, and more that they had more opportunities to get away and seek refuge with sympathetic people.

    IIRC, several of the legal cases in England that led to the abolition of chattel slavery on English soil (and, eventually, throughout the empire) involved injured slaves who were sheltered and nursed back to health by abolitionists who refused to return them to their cruel masters.

    Also, speaking of dowries, the reason George Washington could not free Martha Washington’s slaves was that they were part of her marriage settlement (her dowry), so legally held in trust for her heirs. If you’re familiar with the English term, they were basically entailed property, just like a house or a piece of land.

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  115. 115
    Sarah Rose says:

    Thanks everyone who bought a copy of D-Day Girls! I’m enjoying the responses — and happy to answer any questions.

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