It is entirely up to you what you are going to get out of the book. I like that, it is up my alley. I don’t even mind if I get a whole different thing every day, the opposite of what I got the day before.
The book runs three stories concurrently: two right before and during World War II, and the third is in the mind-1990’s. The main characters meet, cross path.
The biggest takeaway I have, so far, is that all the characters are bumbling idiots, canceling out the myth that some people have it together. No one does.
Among these bumbling idiot people are the shot-callers of the American Army, Navy, whatever, I am not very knowledgeable about the different aspects of war-making.
Starting with General MacArthur who is an idiot and a prideful prick, continuing the whole intelligence and code-breaking branch of the army.
The most important thing I see is this: America has no experience, no training, no skill in war-making. Even the little wars they have started in the Far East and in the Middle East didn’t make a difference: the culture of America doesn’t take well to war-making.
The enemies in the old world, on the other hand, grew up on war-making, and have a long culture of warring.
I remember when I started architecture school back in 1966, I was part of the majority, the clueless wannabe’s, that came from normal high schools. And then there were the small majority, the ones that graduated from technical high schools, and thus, instead of just a high school degree, they could actually practice architecture as architectural technicians.
They were light years ahead of us, and if my sources don’t lie, stayed light years ahead of the rest of the class till the end.
They were immersed in the culture of building, drawing, cross section, rendering, materials, foundation, freehand drawing, since they were 14. And most of them chose that high school because they were the children of builders or achitects.
I was the child of economists… no drawings, no nothing, only talking, and – thank god – math.
This little detour truthfully parallels the situation of America vs. the Old World in warring.
But if you pay attention to something else:
- this handicap, this inexperience, this cluelessness did not stop Americans from doing their job
- this lack of skill and knowledge didn’t stop the Allied Forces from winning the war. Even the Americans could not prevent them from winning it.
Now, if you look at your life, if I look at my life, there is great learning in this.
If what you have is good, if you are on the right side, and you don’t allow your fear, your cluelessness, your inexperience to stop you, you have as much chance of winning your game as someone who is experienced.
After all, I became an award winning architect, in spite of my handicap. And everyone in my class of 96 people that survived the ordeal of being hammered from and ordinary weakling into an architect through 132 hours a week training 1 became an architect. Not all good, but all employed, and making a living.
So, when you and I are waiting for who knows what, instead of starting what we consider good, we are interacting with an imaginary system, not how life is.
Life is for the brave, for the ones that act, for the ones that are willing to be bumbling idiots.
And I love that about life. How about you?