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William Langhorne Bond (November 12, 1893- July 17, 1985) From 1931 until 1948 he was operations manager and vice-president of China National Aviation Corporation (First for Curtiss-Wright Corp, then Pan Am).
real-life saga of the flying band of brothers who opened the skies over China in the years leading up to World War II--and boldly safeguarded them during that conflict--China's Wings is one of the most exhilarating untold chapters in the annals of flight.

At the center of the maelstrom is the book's courtly, laconic protagonist, American aviation executive William Langhorne Bond. In search of adventure, he arrives in Nationalist China in 1931, charged with turning around the turbulent nation's flagging airline business, the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC).
MasseyLibrary | outras 2 resenhas | Sep 9, 2023 |
Fascinating book. Typical I had never heard of this person yet he was one of the richest ken in the world and didn’t get that way by ripping off his employees, or by being a megalomaniac, and I knew next to nothing about the Comstock Lode.
Great detail, clear concise mining details, and a story that builds to an exciting climax.
A really great book.
zmagic69 | outras 5 resenhas | Mar 31, 2023 |
Exceptional. Packed full of interesting detail. I knew none of this. I appreciated, too, Crouch's clear pointers to references and maps.

> Before they walked the last few yards into the new camp, O'Brien asked Mackay if he had any money about his clothes. Mackay said that he didn't have a cent. Thinking they ought to walk into the new camp penniless, "like gentlemen," O'Brien fished his last fifty-cent piece from a pocket and heaved it down the hillside into the sagebrush

> Comstockers had feet on the brain. They talked feet, worked feet, traded feet, jumped feet, ate and drank feet, bought and sold feet, consolidated feet, thought feet, slept feet, and dreamed feet. "Centipedes" and "millipedes" roamed the streets of Virginia City

> the cable cars' roots reach back to the hoists that once served the Comstock mines.
breic | outras 5 resenhas | Jan 2, 2021 |
5709 The Bonanza King John Mackay and the Battle Over the Greatest Riches in )the American West, by Gregory Crouch (read 3 Oct 2020) This is a well researched book which tells of John Mackay, who was born 28 Nov 1831 in Dublin, Ireland, grew up in a New York slum, became a miner in Nevada, and gained great wealth from the Comstock lode. The book tells much about the technicalities of deep mining (more than I really wanted to know) and of the success of Mackay who by his hard work and honesty became probably the richest mine owner in the West. He died 20 July 1902. I found the early part of the book heavy in explaining mining but as the book proceeded to relate the trials and triumphs of Maclay it became quite engrossing. Maclay did not get involved in politics and I have a great interest in such and so the book lacked an aspect which I would have liked to have seen covered in greater detail. But Mackay was an admirable person--though he spent money in what I thought excessive ways. The book has no bibliography but such is online. ( I noted the author often uses contractions not often seen in serious books (such as 'they'd' for "they had" or "they would"--it is understandable but I have seen such in serious non-fiction so seldom it was distracting, I thought.)
Schmerguls | outras 5 resenhas | Oct 3, 2020 |
Travel literature, climbing guide, memoir; experience Andean Patagonia with the writer Gregory Crouch. Discover why climbers risk life to climb.½
MM_Jones | Oct 14, 2019 |
A thoroughly researched and well presented biography on John Mackay who rose from obscurity to become one of the wealthiest men in history. Mackay was unique in this realm of the super rich as not only had the humble beginnings but he seemed to remain so his entire life. One of the few that wealth did not profoundly change or destroy as with others. He was truly an impressive man who worked hard in the mines and through steady persistence and dedication to his profession was ultimately rewarded to a staggering degree.

Much of the narrative focuses on the history of the Comstock lode where Mackay prospered so at times the books gets somewhat bogged down in a history of this mining era. But in part this was necessary to get a grasp of what life was like in era, but also because Mackay himself was not a personality that could be expounded on to an extended degree.

His accumulated wealth was in no way flaunted as it could have been because it was not in his character but yet I could not wonder how such a concentration of wealth in one individual contrasted with the dire poverty that so many lived in at the time. I lived in the region near the Comstock for about 15 years so was able to put of what I read hear into what I observed in the historic landscape and that made it even more meaningful to me.
knightlight777 | outras 5 resenhas | Sep 3, 2018 |
Gregory Crouch writes very good books. Deeply researched, primary source-based, using the lingo of the age, transporting through time, disciplined and compelling. Serious history that is accessible and fun. He's in class with Ron Chernow, though writes on more esoteric topics. Therein is the magic, the discovery of something on the surface seems trivial but underneath is a gold mine. If you ever wanted to feel what it's like to mine for and strike ore, to make a bonanza, this will do it. I'll never forget the description of tunnels glittering with solid silver chunks.

This is a history of the Comstock Lode, the largest mineral discovery in North American history, as told through the life of John Mackay, a New York City slum street urchin who went west with the 49's and rose to become one of the richest people in the world. After his death he faded into obscurity because, as Crouch says, he was uncontroversial and widely admired during his time, a sort of notability killer. Yet, an important figure of the 19th century not unlike Rockefeller. Either way if you read it to learn about Mackay, a rags to riches story, or mining the Comstock there is much to be gained.½
1 vote
Stbalbach | outras 5 resenhas | Jul 19, 2018 |
Thanks to Net Galley for making this book available.

Fascinating biography of John Mackey, the wealthiest 19th century American giant of industry that you have never heard of! The son of Irish immigrants raised in NY tenements, 49er, common miner (above and below ground), hard worker, manager, mine and mill owner, bank owner, and more. If you know anything about California history, you will recognize a lot of the names associated with the Comstock Lode and Virginia City, NV.

Before all that he was the child of Irish immigrants. He grew up in a NY slum and sold newspapers. He was a 49er. He was a common miner, both placer and below ground. He worked hard, had a little luck, and succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

While Mackay and his wife Louise Hungerford Bryant are both very interesting, this book is also full of other interesting details. The names of those heavily involved in the Comstock will be very familiar to many interested in California history (Hearst, Sutro, Clemens/Twain, etc). The technical advances in mining the occurred around the Comstock lode were amazing--from the braking system on the lifts (which was then applied to create SF's cable cars), to the mills, to the timbering system. Mackay's ways of working around his problems by creating competition occur again and again.

Crouch certainly did his research--the bibliography is large and varied. I was a little confused by the book endnotes vs the chapter endnotes (I prefer footnotes myself). There were some things that I found missing, especially given how comprehensive this book is: 1) the system of adding shares to the mines is not explained. Were these stock splits (2 for 1, 3 for 1) or were they additional shares created to be sold? It matters, as splits would mean every shareholder had to pay more in assessments (and might force some to sell), but any one owner's dividend total would stay the same; while adding new shares to sell would decrease dividends per share; and 2) despite the many mentions of the huge amounts of mercury used to mill Comstock ore, Crouch never mentions the New Almaden mercury mine outside San Jose. Is this where their mercury came from? If they got it elsewhere, why?
Dreesie | outras 5 resenhas | Jun 15, 2018 |
China's Wings (2012) really does live up to its title "War, Intrigue, Romance, and Adventure in the Middle Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight". Written with novelistic techniques I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. At the same time it is a serious history by a professionally trained historian who spent 8 (?) years working on it, complete with extensive footnotes (and reliable, I checked some). Finally it's a tribute to a small and little known but important part of the American involvement in China during the 1930s and 40s. I learned a lot about the Sino-Japanese War which I knew little about; about DC-2s and DC-3s and the early development of airline industry; a history of Pan American's Clipper line which was the first to cross the Pacific with commercial flights; the first commercial airliner in history to be shotdown; new perspectives on flying "The Hump" including a great story of survival. And so on, so many stories. Really this is much more than a history of China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) though it plays the center role (along with William Langhorne Bond) it's a grand sweeping drama.½
Stbalbach | outras 2 resenhas | Sep 7, 2014 |
It's a novel incredible story. Secondly, this is a missing chapter from your history books. Amazing detail, it's a puzzle of politics, people and adventure you get to unravel... If you are not a history buff, don't worry. The impact of CNAC on China (and the world) is thoroughly explained. Because of all the primary sources, Crouch gives the reader an intimate view of the time, place and people. His writing takes you there, into each scene and pulls you along. Bond has earned his place in history, as have all the pilots who stood behind his vision. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history, aviation, politics, China, true-adventure, or who just wants to read a great book!
eskoda | outras 2 resenhas | Mar 5, 2012 |
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