The Pearl Harbor story for the seventh time

BOOKS & AUTHORS

November 24, 1991|By James H. Bready

It's 1700 hours, Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. Nathan Miller exits the Garden Theater at South Charles and Cross streets, its matinee over, walks to his home nearby, turns on the radio.

"0600 hours, Sunday December 7, 1941," Honolulu time. So begins Chapter I in Mr. Miller's book, "The Naval Air War, 1939-1945" (Naval Institute Press, $21.95). If that's a bit terse as leads go, figure that this is the seventh time he, as author and historian, has done Pearl Harbor. ("Naval Air War" is a reissue of the book he did earlier for Nautical and Aviation Publishing Co.)

Age 14 in 1941, Nate Miller was able to join the Navy before World War II ended. Later a Sun reporter and correspondent, he left in 1969 to write books, and moved to Washington. "T.R.: The Adventures of Theodore Roosevelt," finished the other day, will be his 11th. Next, a large history of WWII at sea.

Meaning, Pearl Harbor: eighth time.

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The gay experience has been written about in fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry; now, with David Bergman's, "Gaiety Transfigured: Gay Self-Representation in American Literature" (University of Wisconsin Press), its realm extends to literary criticism. Dr. Bergman, professor of English at Towson State University, both outlines the corpus of serious gay writing in America and undertakes informed critical appreciation.

The male authors here under scrutiny "imagined a new role for themselves in American culture" and "negotiated the chasm between themselves and the rest of society."

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In a long-standing East Coast city, there are bound to be more ex-people than current inhabitants. What a Baltimorean forgets, though, is that more whole cemeteries have passed away than there are present ones. At many of the latter, disregard and destruction are a steady threat.

Jane Bromley Wilson, who has a feeling for other times and for these "important, but very fragile, sources of local history," is the author of "The Very Quiet Baltimoreans: a Guide to the Historic Cemeteries and Burial Sites of Baltimore" (White Mane Publishing, $29.95). Hers is a catalog of chiseled wonders and eroded oblivion, with maps and also photos by Barbara Alexandra Treadaway.

Westminster, Old St. Paul's, Green Mount, Loudon Park, New Cathedral, the two National cemeteries are highlighted -- they draw visitors, as well as grieving relatives and descendants. But her story goes farther, to 50-plus other graveyards, excluding memorial parks and columbariums, and to the many more that exist only in old records. Johns Hopkins Hospital was preceded by an Episcopal cemetery.

Inside the city line, only one black cemetery remains: Mount Auburn, on Waterview Avenue. Until 1957, there also was Laurel Hill, on Belair Road. Mrs. Wilson, recounting the greed and chicanery that led to its plowing under, names names.

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Chatter: Drusilla Jones, Howard Street book dealer, is the new president of Baltimore Bibliophiles, succeeding P. W. Filby. The BBs, now in their 38th year, meet at Med-Chi, 1211 Cathedral St. . . . Entropy is everywhere. Peabody Institute Library, formerly open 9 to 5, now closes at 3 p.m. weekdays, noon Saturdays. . . . A 1777 tract by America's first conscientious objectors, a 1597 folio map showing California running east-west, a 1780 mezzotint of John Paul Jones are among the rarities in Baltimore Book Co.'s next auction: Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m., Towson Quality Inn. . . . Michael Fallon, who looked out for others by founding the Maryland Poetry Review, five years later knows what it feels like: Dolphin-Moon Press has brought out his first book of poems, "A History of the Color Black" (paperback, $5.95). . . . A Jane Austen birthday party is set Dec. 14, 1 p.m., at Goucher College. To register ($5; limit, 100 persons), call (410) 284-6344. . . . Now that a Millard E. Tydings biography is out (after the death, uninterviewed, of important eyewitnesses), a question: When will someone undertake a life of Theodore R. McKeldin (1900-1974), twice mayor, twice governor and nonpareil personality?

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