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 Distinguished Professor at Thales College and the author of over thirty books and many articles in both scholarly and general interest journals. A senior editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, Dr. Esolen is known for his elegant essays on the faith and for his clear social commentaries. In addition to Salvo, his articles appear regularly in Touchstone, Crisis, First Things, Inside the Vatican, Public Discourse, Magnificat, Chronicles and in his own online literary magazine, Word & Song.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #62, Fall 2022 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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