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
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.