When the Laughing Stopped

The Strange, Sad Death of Will Rogers

John Evangalist Walsh

John Evangalist Walsh

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

197 pages | 32 halftones, 3 maps | 6 x 9 | © 2008
Cloth $26.95 ISBN: 9781602230293 Published October 2008
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781602230415 Published February 2011
The sudden death of renowned American entertainer Will Rogers inspired a national mourning not seen since Lincoln’s death, and it still resonates today. In this intimate and informed recounting, John Evangelist Walsh recalls the events of that day and the plane crash that ended it all.

The plane carrying Rogers and aviator Wiley Post crashed in a lagoon just outside Barrow, Alaska on August 15, 1935. Walsh retells the tragic tale from various angles, primarily alternating between Rogers and Post’s journey and the actions of the two men’s families on that fateful day. In particular, Walsh reveals moving details about the families and their struggle with grief, such as the fact that Post’s daughter was in a stage play about plane crashes at the time of the crash, or how Will Rogers’s daughter Mary never fully recovered from her father’s death and subsequently abandoned her promising acting career.

When the Laughing Stopped
is a gripping and poignant retelling of the death of a beloved American legend, and it shines a humanizing light upon a pivotal moment in American history and culture.
Prologue: The Light on the Bridge
The narrative, without chapter divisions, is continuous, marked only by numbered breaks indicating changes in angle or topic or time.  The final segment doubles back on the facts laid out in the narrative.  It might be labeled:
The Crash Again:  What Really Happened
Notes and Sources
Selected Bibliography
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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