Tag Archives: Memoir

Book Review: From Pigeons to Tweets

By Johna Till Johnson

From Pigeons to TweetsFrom Pigeons to Tweets: A General Who Led Dramatic Changes in Military Communications, by Clarence E. McKnight and Hank H. Cox. History Publishing Company, Palisades, New York, 2013.

Okay, I know I have weird tastes in reading material. But when I picked up “From Pigeons to Tweets”, I didn’t expect what I actually got.

The subtitle is “A General Who Led Dramatic Changes in Military Communications”, and the author is Lt. Gen. Clarence E. McKnight Jr. (along with journalist Hank H. Cox).

Given that, plus the relatively staid promotional blurbs from a range of military luminaries, I was expecting a dry treatise on the history of military communications technology.

That would have been interesting enough. I’m fascinated by military technology in general, and military communications technology in particular. (I told you I have weird tastes!)

What I got was (in part) a rollicking and thoroughly absorbing memoir by a man who rose to the highest ranks of the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps (the branch that focuses on communications technology) and who had a reputation for hands-on effectiveness in setting up communications systems. (“McKnight could communicate from Hell,” says one of his colleagues—as a compliment.)

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In Memoriam

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

The old World Trade Center…

It was the posters that finally made it real.

Everyone has a 9/11 story. Mine isn’t all that exceptional. I was in Midtown Manhattan that morning, preparing for a sales trip to New Jersey. I’d been awake since about 2 AM, working on a project for work.

… and the new World Trade Center

When the sirens first started, I didn’t think much of it. At least at first. But they kept going… and going… and going. Finally I looked out of the window and saw the column of smoke rising into the clear pale-blue air—and realized something serious was going on.

Then I turned on the TV and saw what everyone else did: the smoke, the helicopters, the collapse of the towers one by one.

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