RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

25 May 2007

The Aluminum Trail by Chick Marrs Quinn


This is part of a fascinating genre of books, self published military histories. They are not like the buckram bound regimental histories lettered gilt on spine and front cover with crests etc. They are more likely to be paperbacks written by old soldiers and sometimes their widows, many came out of WW2 in US and UK and are often very hard to find.

Chick Marrs Quinn. THE ALUMINUM TRAIL (CHINA-BURMA-INDIA-WORLD WAR II, HOW AND WHERE THEY DIED. Self Published? USA (FLA?) 1989.

Current Prices $200+/£100+


AVIATION/ MILITARY HISTORY AND WARFARE.
Not a lot known about this wanted book except that it's about US aerial operations in the Pacific Area in WW2 and CMQ was a woman last heard of living in Lake City Florida. The book is dedicated to 1st Lt. Loyal Stuart Marrs, Jr., Chick's husband who was killed February 27, 1945. A letter to her from someone at the China National Aviation Corporation site in 2005 was returned unopened. The CNAC site has good info on many other books about US aviation in the Indo - China area in this period. The 'aluminum trail' title refers to the pattern of air crashes in these difficult regions, especially the Himalayas. I suspect persons who lost relations and loved ones flying so far from home eagerly want this rare book and not a few libraries.

VALUE? Not on web and I have little idea of price. Pretty scarce. One chap on the excellent wantedbooks.com site is offering $25 to $50 for a copy for his 85 year old uncle. Probably could add quite a bit to that. As uberbookmeister AMW Rosenbach said 'a book is worth what somebody is willing to pay..' or was it 'A book is worth what you can get for it?" [ W/Q *** ]

Update note/ May 2007. I have had several emails from old soldiers and their sons looking for this. It is resolutely unfindable although a copy seems to have gone through ebay recently for about $50 so watch the skies. They should reprint it. Meanwhile here is a verse from the book, probably a dedication at the front:
A steak of silver in the sky...the engines roar...propellers try...
To lift the giant screaming plane...above the mountains drenched with rain..
Black ominous clouds and gale winds blow...amid the ice and swirling snow..
As plane and crew, with every breath...tries to win a fight with death...
To climb above the snow capped peak...a place not far for the very weak...
The plane is in a mighty grip...the crew can hear the metal rip...
As suction lifts them like a kite...above the peaks into the night...
Then, just as quickly dropped like snow...into the jutting rocks below...
Time has run out for plotted goals...a cry aloud,"God save our souls"!...
A crash like thunder, a flash of light...then silence in the blackened night...
Crumpled engines, wings and tail...help pave the "Hump's" Aluminum Trail...
A dog tag here...a jacket there, a picture worn by love and care...
A parachute unopened lay...no time to jump, no time to pray...
In this far, forgotten place, of jungles, mountains, rocks and space...
The wreckage lay like broken toys...discarded by mischievous boys...
And boys they were of tender years...and families weep in silent tears...
To know the sacrifice they made...the part their gift for freedom played...
Lieutenants, Captains, Sergeants too...Privates, maintenance, or crew...
Whatever rank, whatever job...they did their best with each heart throb...
Some gave their lives to save a friend...a brother to the very end...
They gave their lives, so we might live...what more can any person give.
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