Parrish, Thomas 1927-
PARRISH, Thomas 1927-
(Thomas Douglas Parrish)
PERSONAL: Born October 12, 1927, in Richmond, KY; son of H. Douglas (a lawyer) and Julia M. (Gourley) Parrish. Education: University of Chicago, A.B., 1949, A.M., 1979; also attended New York University, 1955.
ADDRESSES: Home—110 Crescent Dr., Berea, KY 40403.
CAREER: Henry Regnery Co., Chicago, IL, editor, 1949–50; University of Chicago, Chicago, radio producer, 1952–54; Maco Magazine Corp., New York, NY, editor, 1954–59; Berkley Publishing Corp., New York, NY, editor, 1959–60; freelancer, 1960–64; Council of the Southern Mountains, Inc., Berea, KY, editor and executive, 1964–70; independent scholar and freelance writer, 1970–. Member, American Committee on the History of the Second World War. Military service: U.S. Army, 1946–47.
Victory at Sea: The Submarine (for children), Scholastic Book Services (New York, NY), 1959.
Great Battles of History: The Bulge (for children), World Publishing, 1966.
The American Flag, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1973.
(Editor) Encyclopedia of World War II, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1978.
The Ultra Americans: The U.S. Role in Breaking the Nazi Codes, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1986.
Roosevelt and Marshall: Partners in Politics and War, Morrow (New York, NY), 1989.
The American Codebreakers: The U.S. Role in Ultra, Scarborough House (Chelsea, MI), 1991.
The Cold War Encyclopedia, Holt (New York, NY), 1996.
Berlin in the Balance, 1945–1949: The Blockade, the Airlift, the First Major Battle of the Cold War, Perseus Books (Reading, MA), 1998.
The Grouchy Grammarian: A How-Not-To Guide to the Forty-Seven Most Common Mistakes in English Made by Journalists, Broadcasters, and Others Who Should Know Better, J. Wiley (Hoboken, NJ), 2002.
The Submarine: A History, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
Restoring Shakertown: The Struggle to Save the Historic Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, foreword by Thomas D. Clark, afterword by Al Smith, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2005.
Contributor to books, including Appalachia in the Sixties, edited by David S. Walls and John B. Stephenson, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 1972; and The Future of Foundations, edited by Fritz F. Heimann, Prentice-Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1973. Editor of "Men and Battle" series, published by Dutton, 1978, including Anzio: Edge of Disaster; Carrier Victory: The Air War in the Pacific; Decision at Sea: The Convoy Escorts; The Men Who Bombed the Reich; Okinawa: The Great Island Battle; and Tigers over Asia. Contributor to Reporter.
SIDELIGHTS: Thomas Parrish writes frequently on topics related to critical equipment or pivotal events in the history of warfare. For example, his The Submarine: A History chronicles the development of underwater warcraft and their somewhat difficult history, the decisive advantages they gave those who deployed them, and the ever-present dangers for those who serve as crew. Parrish "is one of those rare writers who … demonstrates that the best writers of the history of science do not produce the last word," commented Michael Riggs in Reviewers Bookwatch. Instead, Parrish's prose "leads readers into sharing a sense of fascination, into an urge to dig deeper and know more," Riggs observed. For those who want to find out more about underwater warfare, Parrish "provides a superb, in-depth history of the submarine, ranging from the 18th century to present-day, nuclear-submarine technology," noted Dale Farris in the Library Journal.
Parrish discusses but dismisses some very primitive ancestors of the submarine, such as the Turtle, dating from 1776. For the author, the era of the submarine begins with the development of the sub during the U.S. Civil War and the success of the storied Civil-War era sub, the Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship. Recovered on August 8, 2000, from the spot where it sank after torpedoing a Union ship, the Hunley revealed the primitive but effective crankshaft mechanism that propelled it and the ingenious design that allowed it to operate below the surface. In a chillingly realistic demonstration of the dangers of early submarine work, the Hunley also contained the bodies of the nine crew members who perished with it. Parrish goes on to examine the development of submarines in the years following the Hunley, from early models that moved on wheels on the ocean floor to modern nuclear behemoths that can accurately hurl missiles at targets hundreds of miles inland. Parrish also covers topics such as German U-boats during World War II, the loss of the Russian nuclear sub Kursk, and concerns about submarine sonar and its effect on a variety of sea life. "To a minutia-ridden subject, Parrish brings a superb general treatment that will attract naval-history readers," noted Gilbert Taylor in Booklist.
Berlin in the Balance, 1945–1949: The Blockade, the Airlift, the First Major Battle of the Cold War recounts the tumultuous events of the Berlin blockade by the Soviets after World War II, and how that conflict led to the blockade and subsequent Berlin Airlift becoming signal events in the early history of the Cold War. Parrish explores the events that led up to the blockade and the fourteen-month ordeal suffered by military personnel and civilians in the city. The blockade "was also the end of any naive hope American leaders had that wartime allies would be friends in peace," observed a Publishers Weekly contributor. Early components of U.S. Cold War doctrine are explained, including the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the domino theory, and Kennan's Long Telegram. Parrish also outlines the crises that led to the blockade and how Soviet-American relations were profoundly affected for the next fifty years. Parrish's account rests on a number of primary sources and interviews with direct participants, plus "material from newly opened resources in Russia and Germany," reported Daniel K. Blewett in the Library Journal. His work "recounts how Berlin became the iciest of face-offs in the cold war," noted Gilbert Taylor in Booklist.
Parrish further explores the multifaceted landscape of the Cold War in The Cold War Encyclopedia. This book covers major events as well as obscure conflicts and episodes of manipulation and espionage throughout the entire fifty-year history of the Cold War. "The book offers many lively reminders of the long struggle," noted a reviewer in American Heritage. Parrish covers events such as Operation Golf, in which a Soviet agent planted false information in a British magazine accusing U.N. Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick of taking bribes from South Africa's Apartheid regime; a 1978 assassination of Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov via a poisoned pellet fired into his leg from a KGB umbrella; and the KGB's role in propagating the story that American biologists had developed and spread the AIDS virus. Parrish also delves deeply into the nature of the Soviet Union and how the Cold War came about and developed. A Booklist reviewer recounted the book's virtues: "Designed for the general reader as well as for the student, entries are short, readable, and frequently provide cross-references to entries covering other facets of the topic." The American Heritage contributor observed that "our surroundings reflect less and less of the war that once was everywhere," but noted that the The Cold War Encyclopedia "has preserved much of it," its history, and its importance.
Parrish once commented: "In my introduction to Encyclopedia of World War II, I quoted Josh Billings's saying: 'The trouble with people is not that they don't know but that they know so much that ain't so.' I find this a valuable principle to keep in mind. Indeed, it becomes more valuable every day."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Heritage, May-June, 1996, review of The Cold War Encyclopedia, p. 111.
Booklist, February 1, 1996, review of The Cold War Encyclopedia, p. 952; June 1, 1998, Gilbert Taylor, review of Berlin in the Balance, 1945–1949: The Blockade, the Airlift, the First Major Battle of the Cold War, p. 1714; May 1, 2004, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Submarine: A History, p. 1530.
Library Journal, June 1, 1998, Daniel K. Blewett, review of Berlin in the Balance, 1945–1949, p. 128; May 15, 2004, Dale Farris, review of The Submarine, p. 99.
Publishers Weekly, May 25, 1998, review of Berlin in the Balance, 1945–1949, p. 75; April 19, 2004, review of The Submarine, p. 58.
Reviewers Bookwatch, November, 2004, Michael Riggs, review of The Submarine.
Time, October 30, 1989, review of Roosevelt and Marshall: Partners in Politics and War, p. 94.
USA Today Magazine, September, 2004, Gerald F. Kreyche, review of The Submarine, p. 80.
Washington Post Book World, June 20, 2004, Douglas Porch, "Run Silent, Run Deep," review of The Submarine, p. 4.
English Forums.com, http://www.englishforums.com/ (October 5, 2005), review of The Grouchy Grammarian: A How-Not-To Guide to the Forty-Seven Most Common Mistakes by Journalists, Broadcasters, and Others Who Should Know Better.