Mullah’s Storm by Thomas W. Young reminded me of Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour. Both are survival stories that feature military aviators as heroes who must escape enemy territory on their feet. L’Amour’s novel is a Cold War tale that stars Air Force Major Joseph Makatozi. He has to escape from Siberia. Young’s new book is a war on terror thriller that stars Parson and Gold, a navigator and interpreter whose plane goes down in the mountains of Afghanistan. To complicate matters, they’re in charge of a Taliban prisoner.
Growing up, I read a lot of Louis L’Amour. When Last of the Breed came out in 1986, I got a hardcover copy. I think it’s the only hardcover L’Amour I’ve read. It soon became my favorite of his titles, even though it was only one of a handful that weren’t traditional Westerns.
One of the dangers of rereading favorite books from childhood is that you may not like them as well as you remember. I definitely had this experience with Last of the Breed. I don’t think it’s as good as some of L’Amour’s other work, which I have also reread, mostly in preparation for articles in the Wall Street Journal (headline: “The Last of His Breed”) and National Review (which describes Ronald Reagan’s fondness for L’Amour).
I don’t know what I’ll think of The Mullah’s Storm in 25 years, but I like it now. Today, Young is my podcast victim. When we were done recording, I asked Young if he knew of Last of the Breed. He said he didn’t but that he’d look it up.
Next week’s podcast: James Robbins on the Tet offensive.