Month: December 2012

Our Current Read, Citizens of London — January 9, 2013

Our current read is Citizens of London , Citizens-of-London-WWII-book-by-Lynne-OlsonIn this book, Lynne Olson has written a work of World War II history even more relevant and revealing than her acclaimed Troublesome Young Men. Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and a reluctant American public to support the British at a critical time.

The three — Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBS News in Europe; Harriman, the hard-driving millionaire who ran FDR’s Lend-Lease program in London; and Winant, the shy, idealistic U.S. ambassador to Britain—formed close ties with Winston Churchill and were drawn into Churchill’s official and personal circles. So intense were their relationships with the Churchills that they all became romantically involved with members of the prime minister’s family: Harriman and Murrow with Churchill’s daughter-in-law, Pamela, and Winant with Churchill’s favorite daughter, Sarah.

Others were honorary “Citizens of London” as well, including the gregarious, fiercely ambitious Dwight D. Eisenhower, an obscure general who, as the first commander of American forces in Britain, was determined to do everything in his power to make the alliance a success, and Tommy Hitchcock, a world-famous polo player and World War I fighter pilot who helped save the Allies’ bombing campaign against Germany.

Citizens of London, however, is more than just the story of these Americans and the world leaders they aided and influenced. It’s an engrossing account of the transformative power of personal diplomacy and, above all, a rich, panoramic tale of two cities: Washington, D.C., a lazy Southern town slowly growing into a hub of international power, and London, a class-conscious capital transformed by the Blitz into a model of stoic grace under violent pressure and deprivation. Deeply human, brilliantly researched, and beautifully written, Citizens of London is a new triumph from an author swiftly becoming one of the finest in her field.

New England Air Museum and Mark Twain House
— March 14, 2013

We will be visiting the New England Air Museum on March 14th. This museum consists of three hangars, and an outside area. The aircraft on display include a total 66 airplanes, 26 helicopters, 8 missiles, 7 gliders, 6 balloons, 1 autogyro and 2 lighter-than-air craft. In addition, there are many historical displays. Aircraft on display are from all time periods including a pre-WW-I Bleriot XI

WW I              Fokker DR-1

Golden Years   Stinson Reliant & Gee Bee Thompson Racer

WW II             Chance Vought Cousair & P-51 Mustang

Jet Age            F4D Phantom & MIG-15

We will also tour the Mark Twain house in Hartford. It was the home of our greatest author while he wrote his most important works. An outstanding example of Gothic architecture, it features a grand hall with Victorian decorative arts by Tiffany’s design studio.

Reservation details will be posted in late January.

Museum of the Moving Image and FDR Four Freedoms Park
— February 7. 2013

Our first event of the New Year will be on February 7th, 2013. We will visit the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. The Museum’s core exhibit, Behind The Scenes, is a one-of-a-kind experience that immerses you in the creative and technical process of producing, promoting and presenting films and TV shows Occupying 15,000 square feet, it reveals the skills, material resources and artistic decisions that go into making moving images.

We will have lunch, then tour the FDR Four Freedoms Park. Just opened on October 24th as a spiritual memorial to FDR, it is located along the waterfront of Roosevelt Island. The memorial was conceived in 1973, designed by Louis Kahn just before his death in 1974, and finally funded after the turn of the century.

The tickets are $68 per person. Signup at the Wednesday meeting or call Bill Winship at [enkode text=”– Sorry, Javascript must be enabled to display phone number –“]203.655.3530[/enkode] with your reservation.

Frank Johnson, Chair


Speaker — January 23, 2013
David Koch

David Koch is an Associate professor of History at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport. Though a wide-ranging historian, David’s specialty areas are the Civil War and Native American History. He has worked for national historical and natural sites, promoting the nation’s physical and historical heritage. He has also lectured for organizations across the country on such topics relating to different aspects of the Civil War. David will speak on Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address.

Speaker — January 16, 2013
Ken Delmar

Ken Delmar, author of “Winning Moves: The Body Language of Selling” will describe several subtle but powerful tactics and strategies of non-verbal communication used to enhance success in careers.

A real estate blog about selling said the about Ken’s book: “The book explains the keys, strategies, moves, gestures, expressions, style and aura that work for winners. The author suggests that religious leaders, politicians, actors, top trail lawyers and top sales people all have these abilities in common. He further suggests that we can all do this, if we learn how – and that is exactly what this book explains how to do.

Amongst the topics are how to maintain composure, sense of trust, limit stress, look relaxed, self-assured and confident. Imagine disarming prospects, improving your voice and allowing hostile people to backtrack with proper body language and adequate tone. Learn to look alive on camera, command a room, quell anger emotions, it is all here and more, this is a great book.”

Ken has spoken around the country about his book, which has won a national award and has been translated into seven languages.

Speaker — January 9, 2013
Mark Albertson

Mark is an historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine; and, has been a member of the United States Naval Institute for more than twenty-five years as well as being a member of the Navy League. He has published articles on issues of history and current events in newspapers and magazines and has authored three books: 1) USS Connecticut: Constitution State Battleship; 2) They’ll Have to Follow You! The Triumph of the Great White Fleet and 3) On History: A Treatise. He is currently at work on a fourth project, Sky Soldiers: The Saga of Army Aviation. Mark will give a presentation on the epic circumnavigation of the globe by the Atlantic Fleet Battleship Force in 1907; an important event in America’s quest to become a global power.

2012 Christmas Party

On December 6th one hundred SMA’ers and their guests enjoyed a wonderful holiday party the Country Club of Darien. We had a delicious lunch, danced to the sprightly music of the Joe Holmes’ Swing Quartet, met new friends and renewed  acquaintances with old. What an excellent event this was once again.

Thanks to Bob Smith for these photos!

[camera slideshow=”2012-christmas-party”]

And thanks also to Bob for this excellent video.

2012 Christmas Party Dancing

Thanks to Bob Smith for this video clip!

Our Current Read — December 12, 1012

Our current read is Mission to ParisMission to Paris

It is the late summer of 1938, Europe is about to explode, the Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie for Paramount France. The Nazis know he’s coming—a secret bureau within the Reich Foreign Ministry has for years been waging political warfare against France, using bribery, intimidation, and corrupt newspapers to weaken French morale and degrade France’s will to defend herself.

For their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service being run out of the American embassy in Paris.

From Alan Furst, the bestselling author, often praised as the best spy novelist ever, comes a novel that’s truly hard to put down. Mission to Paris includes beautifully drawn scenes of romance and intimacy, and the novel is alive with extraordinary characters: the German Baroness von Reschke, a famous hostess deeply involved in Nazi clandestine operations; the assassins Herbert and Lothar; the Russian film actress and spy Olga Orlova; the Hungarian diplomat and spy, Count Janos Polanyi; along with the French cast of Stahl’s movie, German film producers, and the magnetic women in Stahl’s life, the socialite Kiki de Saint-Ange and the émigré Renate Steiner.

But always at the center of the novel is the city of Paris, the heart and soul of Europe—its alleys and bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it was their last. As always, Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.