Format: Unabridged, Multicast, 2 CDs
Length: Approx. 2 hours
Cast list: Audio drama performed by Shane Johnson, R.F. Daley, Feodor Chin, Jim Meskimen, Tamra Meskimen, Paul Wertheimer and Michael Yurchak.
The Stories from the Golden Age series reflect the words and expressions used in the 1930s and 1940s, adding unique flavor and authenticity to the tales. While a character’s speech may often reflect regional origins, it also can convey attitudes common in the day. So that readers can better grasp such cultural and historical terms, uncommon words or expressions of the era, the following glossary has been provided.
aileron: a hinged flap on the trailing edge of an aircraft wing, used to control banking movements.
altimeter: a gauge that measures altitude.
archy gunners: antiaircraft gunners; World War I British slang that probably derives from the arched pattern of the antiaircraft projectile trajectory.
bandolier: a broad belt worn over the shoulder by soldiers and having a number of small loops or pockets for holding cartridges.
barrel rolled: having executed a barrel roll, a flight maneuver where the aircraft has completed a rotation on its longitudinal axis while approximately maintaining its original direction.
batteries: groups of large-caliber weapons used for combined action.
bull fiddle: also called a bass fiddle or double bass; the largest and lowest-pitched string instrument, and member of the violin family. It has a deep range, going as low as three octaves below middle C.
Canton: city and port in the southern part of China, northwest of Hong Kong.
casqued: having a military headpiece or helmet on.
Chang tombs: also known as the Ming tombs, the imperial cemetery located near Peking. The building of the first tomb, Chang Lang, or tomb of Chang, was begun by the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1409 AD before the main peak of Tian Shou Mountain, which means “heavenly longevity.” The area contains the tombs of thirteen emperors, twenty-three empresses and a number of concubines, princes and princesses.
Chapei: a poor residential district of Shanghai, China, which was bombed by the Japanese in 1932 following a skirmish with Chinese troops. A number of innocent civilians were killed, which roused international concern.
C-in-C: Commander in Chief.
club: airplane propeller.
cordite: a family of smokeless propellants, developed and produced in the United Kingdom from the late nineteenth century to replace gunpowder as a military propellant for large weapons, such as tank guns, artillery and naval guns. Cordite is now obsolete and no longer produced.
cowl: a removable metal covering for an engine, especially an aircraft engine.
crate: an airplane.
crosstree: the raised wooden pieces at the front and rear of the saddle that form a high pommel or horn in the front and cantle in the back.
drew rein: from “draw in the reins,” meaning to slow down or stop by exerting pressure on the reins.
embrasure: the low segment of the alternating high and low segments of a battlement along the outer top of a wall or tower, through which weapons may be fired.
Fen Ho River: an eastern tributary of the Yellow River in the Shan Province in northern China, approximately 435 miles (700 km) long. The Fen River valley was an early center of civilization and has remained an important route linking Peking with the Shan Province, and with the major land routes to Central Asia.
file closer: a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the rear of a line, or on the flank of a column, who rectifies mistakes and ensures steadiness in the ranks.
fire step: a step cut into the wall of a trench some two or three feet from the floor that runs along the entire wall. The purpose was to enable each occupant of the trench to peer over the side in the direction of the enemy. The floor of the trench was lower than the fire step so that men could pass along the trench without exposing their heads to enemy fire.
General Chang: Chang Hsüeh-liang (1901–2001); nicknamed “Young Marshal,” he became the military governor of Manchuria after the assassination of his father, a major warlord of China, by the Japanese in 1928. He was made vice commander in chief of all Chinese forces and a member of the central political council. He made historic contributions to ending the ten-year (1927–1937) civil war, helping realize the cooperation between the Nationalist regime and the Communist Party of China, and making the whole nation take part in the war of resistance against Japanese aggression.
Gobi: Asia’s largest desert, located in China and southern Mongolia.
Harbin: the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province, in northeastern China.
Hawks: bomber aircraft.
ideographs: written symbols that represent an idea or object directly, rather than by particular words or speech sounds, as Chinese or Japanese characters.
jury strut: a strut that keeps an aircraft’s wings from bowing or snapping when air pressure pushes down on them.
key: a hand-operated device used to transmit Morse code messages.
Khinghan Mountains: forested volcanic mountains extending 700 miles (1,126 km) along the eastern edge of the Mongolian Plateau (large plateau including the Gobi Desert) in western Manchuria. The mountains slope gently from the west, reaching moderate elevations of only 2,000 to 3,000 feet (610 to 915 meters).
Manchuria: a region of northeast China comprising the modern-day provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. It was the homeland of the Manchu people, who conquered China in the seventeenth century, and was hotly contested by the Russians and the Japanese in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chinese Communists gained control of the area in 1948.
Mukden: the capital city of the China province of Liaoning in northeast China.
mushed: flown in a partly or nearly stalled condition.
Nankou: a city located northeast of Peking, near the Great Wall.
Nankou Pass: a large gap in the mountains that connects China with Mongolia and along which the Great Wall was built. Through this pass flowed all the vast volume of trade and travel between China and Mongolia. It was through here that the barbaric Mongols for centuries poured their armies to invade and devastate the plains and cities of China. It was to stop these dreaded invasions that the Great Wall was built.
Peking: now Beijing, China.
pointer’s ledge: seat located on the left side of the gun breech for the pointer to sit on. The pointer is the gun crew member who points the artillery piece and fires the weapon.
postern: postern gate; small secondary entrance, sometimes concealed, and usually at the rear of a castle or fortress, used as a means to come and go without being seen or as a route of escape.
QST: radio signal meaning “general call to all stations.” The Q code is a standardized collection of three-letter message encodings, all starting with the letter “Q”; initially developed for commercial radiotelegraph communication and later adopted by other radio services.
quarterdeck: the rear part of the upper deck of a ship, usually reserved for officers.
route step: a normal pace in marching in which it is not necessary to march in step. Used mainly in the field when moving from place to place as a unit.
rudders: devices used to steer aircraft. A rudder is a flat plane or sheet of material attached with hinges to the craft’s stern or tail. In typical aircraft, pedals operate rudders via mechanical linkages.
seventy-five or 75: 75 mm field artillery piece, first introduced in 1897.
Shanghai: city of eastern China at the mouth of the Yangtze River, and the largest city in the country. Shanghai was opened to foreign trade by treaty in 1842 and quickly prospered. France, Great Britain and the United States all held large concessions (rights to use land granted by a government) in the city until the early twentieth century.
Shan Province: also known as Shanxi, Shan-hsi or Shansi; province of northern China. The name Shanxi means “west of the mountains,” derived from its location west of the Taihang Mountains. It serves as a buffer between China and the Mongolian steppes and was a key route for military and trading expeditions. It was also one of the major avenues for the entrance of Buddhism into China from India.
Shen Province: also known as Shensi or Shaanxi; north central province neighboring Shan Province.
sideslip: (of an aircraft when excessively banked) to slide sideways, toward the center of the curve described in turning.
struts: supports for a structure such as an aircraft wing, roof or bridge.
Taiy: also known as Tai-yuan; the capital of Shan Province.
Tartars: members of any of the various tribes, chiefly Mongolian and Turkish, who, originally under the leadership of Genghis Khan, overran Asia and much of eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. Also the descendants of these people.
trace: trace-chain; a chain used to connect the limber (a two-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage that holds the cannon) to a horse’s harness.
tracer: a bullet or shell whose course is made visible by a trail of flames or smoke, used to assist in aiming.
USN: United States Navy.
Wagon-Lit: name of a hotel. Wagon-Lit means “sleeping car” in French. Sleeping compartments on trains were first introduced by Georges Nagelmackers in 1872 to service international railroad travelers on trains such as the Orient Express. The original company, Campaignie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, later expanded into hotels.
Wei River: river in north central China. It flows east through Shan Province to join the Yellow River. It is 537 miles (864 km) long. Its valley was the earliest center of Chinese civilization and until the tenth century AD was the site of a succession of capital cities. In the third century BC, the area around the junction of the Ching and Wei rivers was the site of the first ambitious irrigation works in China.
Western Hills: a range of hills in China, situated northwest of Peking, which contains structures from the Ming and Qing dynasties and has forests of pine and fir trees. The range is known for its many temples and has long been a religious retreat. It also serves as a retreat for Chinese scholars and members of the government and civil service.
white man’s burden: from a poem written by Rudyard Kipling originally published in 1899 with regard to the US conquest of the Philippines and other former Spanish colonies. Subject to different interpretations, it was latched onto by imperialists to justify colonialism as a noble enterprise. Much of Kipling’s other writings suggested that he genuinely believed in the benevolent role that the introduction of Western ideas could play in lifting non-Western peoples out of “poverty and ignorance.”
White Russian: a Russian who fought against the Bolsheviks (Russian Communist Party) in the Russian Revolution, and fought against the Red Army during the Russian Civil War from 1918 to 1921.
windsock: a fabric tube or cone attached at one end to the top of a pole to show which way the wind is blowing.
windward: facing the wind or on the side facing the wind.