Flight MH 370


The investigators have not even found the missing Malaysian Airlines plane MH 370, but already there is a book about the mystery on the Bookazine shelves!  With a mixture of fascination and dread, I took Flight MH 370 written by Nigel Cawthorne (ISBN 978-1-78418-112-3, John Blake Publishing, 2014).

There is no indication given as to the bona fides of Nigel Cawthorne, which was a negative in my opinion.  One would like to think that the author knows what he or she is talking about.  Are they an authority or not?

The answer was found in Wikipedia – “Nigel Cawthorne is an Anglo-American writer of fiction and non-fiction, and an editor.  He has written more than 150 books on a wide range of subjects and has contributed to The Guardian, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Mail and the New-York Tribune.  He has appeared on television and BBC Radio 4’s Today program.  Many of Nigel Cawthorne’s books are compilations of popular history, without footnotes, references or bibliographies.  His own web site refers to a description of his home as a “book-writing factory” and says, “More than half my books were commissioned by publishers and packagers for a flat fee or for a reduced royalty”  After reading that, I am as much in the dark as you as far as his credentials are concerned regarding aviation sleuthing!

What author Cawthorne has done is to take all the theories and then look at plane crashes that have resulted from the theory put forward and then bring the scenario forward to the mystery of MH 370.  In this way he has managed to bring in the Marie Celeste, the Bermuda Triangle and every significant plane crash since Wilbur and Orville Wright.  These include Amelia Earhart in 1937 – not much significance there I would imagine, then that is followed by two pages of explanation that radar goes in straight lines and gets weaker, the further the beam is sent out before bouncing back off a solid object.  This is scarcely rocket science.

A cover up is looked at by Cawthorne, with sketchy details about an Islamist cell in Malaysia.  To find Islamists in Malaysia in a strongly Islamic culture, does not really ‘prove’ anything I would suggest.  But it makes good press.

He even manages to bring Anwar Ibrahim into the plot, because one of the pilots voted for him at election time.  News must have been thin that day.

For B. 468, this slim volume does give the reader all the details known at the time of publishing, with the fate of MH 370 still unknown at the time of printing this article.  Really, it is an opportunistic book, which quite frankly does nothing other than satisfy a voyeuristic look at the disappearance.  I cannot see any good reason to buy this book, unless you are into morbid curiosity.  You have read every bit of it before in any daily newspaper.  As Wikipedia claimed, author Cawthorne has produced another “compilation of popular history, without footnotes, references or bibliographies.”  I felt disappointed by this book, but perhaps I should not have expected more.  My own fault.