The Agony of Victory

Twelve O’Clock High

The year is 1942, and the Nazis are in the ascendant. You are American fighter pilots, based in southern England. You are the only American presence in the theater of northern Europe, and you have been flying at night, bombing Nazi installations in Denmark and the Netherlands, but never getting too close to Germany itself, and thus not accomplishing a whole lot. Still, the missions are dangerous, and many of your fellows never come home.

Why are you fighting? Who knows? You don’t think about it. Your commanding officer, Colonel Keith Davenport (Gary Merrill), is a brave man, and he identifies with you, so when you get the feeling you are a “hard luck” outfit, he has not the heart to argue about it. It is a job...


is a professor at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books), Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius Press, 2019). He has also translated Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). 

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #62, Fall 2022 Copyright © 2023 Salvo |


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