Written by Lee Trimble and Jeremy Dronfield
There’s a little coffee shop in Waco called Bru. It’s located in an old elevator, all brass and crimson and Deco, just to the side of a marble lobby in the Praetorian building. The setting is amazing, and the coffee is the best I’ve ever had. But, I keep going back because one of the girls who works there is delightful. We talk about books and writing and coffee, and she always asks me what to read. I was reading this book when I realized that World War II seems to be my 2017 theme. I told her I needed to shift topics, and she told not to apologize for reading what I want. So I won’t.
What It’s About
Captain Robert Trimble was a bomber pilot in World War II. He earned enough points to go home, but was afraid he’d called back to war. He took what he thought was a “gimme” assignment, retrieving downed US aircraft on the Eastern Front. Instead, he was assigned to the CIA and tasked with helping liberated Allied POW’s make it to safety.
Captain Trimble is the sort of person you wish you knew in real life. He was a hero. But he was also human, and Trimble and Bronfield’s retelling of his story is all the more powerful for his humanity. This book is worth reading, if only for its introduction to a world in which a man like this existed.
But this book is so much more than a study of a brave, honorable man. It presents a glimpse of a part of WWII that many of us don’t know. It presents a view of the chaos of the last days of the war, a perspective on the Russians and the NKVD in those days, and a look at the beginnings of the Cold War. The authors delve into a complex history in a focused manner that is accessible for any reader, regardless of their knowledge of the history of the time.
One of the authors is the son of Captain Trimble. It was the Captain’s telling of his own story in the nursing home that inspired his son to research and write this book. I think the personal connection worked against him a bit. I don’t know if his feelings for his father were so intense that he held back, or if he was trying to keep a bit of distance because of the personal connection, but I never found myself completely immersed in the way of a truly great book.
This is a 4-star rating, so understand that any critique is splitting hairs. I read this book in two days, and I was absolutely immersed in it. Captain Trimble was the sort of person that the phrase “Greatest Generation” was coined to describe. His exploits are almost unbelievable, and give credence to the promise that a person can change the world one interaction at a time. It is easy to read, interesting, and inspiring. Even if you aren’t a non-fiction reader, I think you’d enjoy it. And if you’re looking for a present for that history buff on your list, this is it.