Fireball: Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3

by Jo Anne Disney

National

Matzen_R_039 webIf you are interested in the Golden Age of Hollywood and an in depth look inside the life and death of Carole Lombard, then Fireball:  Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen is a must read.  It was released on January 16, 2014 on the 72nd Anniversary of the mysterious plane crash that killed Carole and 21 others. As you turn each page, Matzen takes you on an intriguing journey of discovery.
I didn’t really know that much about Carole Lombard other than she was a famous movie actress from the 20’s and 30’s, and married to the famous Clark Gable. As you turn the pages, the photographs in the book and the historical background into the Hollywood Era bring Lombard and Gable to life. Matzen’s research details just how “highly influential” Lombard was. He describes the love story between Lombard and Gable as well as the people they surrounded themselves with. Moreover, the reader experiences all the emotions of that terrible night on January 16, 1942 when the DC-3 crashed into Mt. Potosi at an elevation of 8,200 feet, with Lombard and 21 others on board. Matzen also provides information into the lives of those who perished.
As an author, Robert Matzen definitely went over and above the call of duty by actually visiting the crash site before writing his book. He says, “The wreckage of the plane had been beckoning me up that mountain for years, and finally I went. That adventure was all the inspiration I needed, and I am dumbfounded that no one has told this story before me. The plane crash is always looked upon as a throwaway item, as the end of Lombard’s story, rather than as a story itself. But it has everything: love, bravery, courage, foolhardiness, sadness, and death.” For me, this definitely adds even more to the authenticity of the entire book. When asked about doing his research, Matzen said, “To get a fresh perspective on Carole Lombard, I located unpublished manuscripts as well as interviews with principals that had been kept in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for almost 40 years.” According to Matzen, he “spent time with actor Robert Stack, who knew Lombard for years and was in love with her. To tell stories of the others on the plane, I tracked down relatives of many and combed through hundreds of newspaper accounts on the crash.”
So, if you are looking for an entertaining piece of history, Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 must definitely be put on your must read list.

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