Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Wings of Morning by Murray Pura

Lyyndy Kurtz and Jude Whetstone had known each other from the time they were young.  When he learned to fly Lyyndy was excited and asked for a ride into the blue sky.  Others in their community of Amish folk were hesitant but watched in awe as Jude and Lyyndy flew higher and higher and then did some stunt flying.  Bishop Zook was interested in Jude's skills as a pilot, an unusual hobby for an Amish blacksmith.  Others had also noticed Jude as he gave a show to the community at picnics.  Then a group of young men from Paradise were  visited by the United States Army.  Though the Amish were exempt from serving in the war these young men were taken to a camp where they were treated as prisoners.  They were made to do physical labor in the Pennsylvania winter in inadequate clothing.  The food they were given was poor quality and not enough of it.  Verbal abuse by the soldiers was constant.  It seemed that soon some of the Amish would collapse or die.  People back in Paradise were shocked and puzzled when Jude enlisted in the Army to fly in combat and yet the rest of the group was released to return to Paradise.  It was a long time before Jude's family or Lyyndy got any word from him about what he was doing.  Then they still had many questions about why he had joined the war.  Had he lost his faith or had he just wanted so badly to fly that he decided to go to war?  The men who had been mistreated at the same time as Jude were not telling anyone what had really happened to them or Jude.  Before they got adequate answers to their questions the influenza epidemic reached the cities of Pennsylvania and even to Paradise.  Through all this Lyyndy continued to  believe that Jude must have a good reason for what he was doing.  And she also decided to do something to help during these years of World War I.
In this story we learn about early aviation, World War I, the influenza epidemic as well as life in an Amish community.  More than in many stories set in Amish communities we see how changes in American society can touch the people in a subculture.  And how everyone must grapple with how those changes make a difference in their lives.

You can find this book in the catalog.

~Beth H.

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