Jun. 25, 1999

Through the Haze

by Clemens Starck

Broadcast Date: FRIDAY: June 25, 1999

Poem: "Through the Haze," by Clemens Starck, from Journeyman's Wages (Story Line Press, 1998).

It was on this day in 1950 that the KOREAN WAR broke out. On the 25th of June, North Korean troops, led by Soviet-built tanks, crossed the 38th parallel and launched a full scale invasion of the South. Two days later President Truman took the nation to war — without first asking Congress for a declaration of war, the first time in American military history. Using the U.N. Security Council as his authority, he said the conflict in Korea was not a war but a "police action." It lasted until July 27, 1953, when an armistice was signed, formally dividing the country.

It's the birthday in New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1924 of DOROTHY GILMAN, creator of the Mrs. Pollifax detective series which has about two dozen books in it now, all about Mrs. Emily Pollifax, a bored and lonely New Jersey widow in her sixties who applies to the CIA for a job and is chosen for special assignments. Gilman did lots of research in the foreign countries where the novels are set, but the first one, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, (1966) was set in Albania because Gilman was too broke to go there and she figured it was a country that hardly any other Americans had been to anyway, so she could get away with making stuff up about it.

It's the birthday of novelist NICHOLAS MOSLEY, born in London 1923, author of Spaces of the Dark, and The Rainbearers. He's best known for his novels of the 1960s, Accident, and Assassins.

It's the birthday of novelist GEORGE ORWELL, born in Motihari, India, 1903, as Eric Arthur Blair. He worked in a bookshop in England while he wrote his first books, including Burmese Days (1934). When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 he went to fight with the Republican Army against Franco. He came back to England and wrote Homage to Catalonia, and became England's most prominent political writer with his novels Animal Farm (1945), and Nineteen Eighty Four, published just before he died in 1950.

CUSTER'S LAST STAND took place on this day in 1876, when Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his 264 soldiers of the 7th Cavalry were wiped out by Chief Crazy Horse and his Sioux warriors at Little Bighorn in Montana.

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