The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 249

Book Reviews

and learn more about him and to deflate the excesses of the cowboy myth.
Such a book is not likely to end romances on cowboy life, but it may help
to make some future ones a bit more realistic.
Sunward I've Climbed. By Howard A. Craig. (El Paso: Texas Western
Press, 1975. Pp. vii+ I17 . Photographs, appendix. $ o.)
Library shelves devoted to the personal memoirs of military men are full
to overflowing, but there always seems to be room for just one more. The
heavyweights of World War II having long weighed in, we are now down
to the recollections of lightweights such as Howard A. "Pinky" Craig, an
obscure Air Corps Officer who occasionally rubbed shoulders with the
mighty. Like many of his generation, nothing that happened to Craig in
the years either before or after his experiences in World War II ever ap-
proached them in personal significance.
This explains Craig's legitimate desire (obviously growing stronger as he
grows older) to leave some kind of personal statement. His slim volume
contains little that is new, and no more than the average number of anec-
dotes, but even so they are worth reading. We learn, for instance, that Gen-
eral Dwight Eisenhower once exploded with Patton-like moral indignation
over a VD-ridden hospitalized GI who failed to exhibit the proper contri-
tion (p. 147); that Bernt Balchen, the famed Arctic explorer, was denied
an Air Corps commission until he had a double hernia repaired (p. 8o);
and that General H. H. "Hap" Arnold's legendary ability to "chew out"
an officer was entirely justified-one colonel collapsed and died of a heart
attack during such a reprimand (p. 82) !
But aside from amusing anecdotes, Craig's memoir suffers because he did
not keep a diary, and thus his recollections have a sketchy, imprecise quality,
full of the kind of lapses common to men trying to remember events a life-
time away. In addition, Craig was simply not a very important fellow-
never privy to crucial deliberations, he was just around while they were in
process. Of course it was not Craig's fault that he was a mere staff officer
in charge of routine chores for various people (including Eisenhower), or
that his most important command was the Department of Alaska-the
military's traditional dead-end.
In one sense, Craig's story is significant in that it refutes the notion of
the pre-World War II officer corps as a privileged caste composed only of
members of the upper classes. Craig rose from private to three-star general
without benefit of family, position, political connections, or even a college


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. ( accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.