Eric Knight

Eric Knight (1897-1943) was a British/American journalist, novelist, short story writer and screenwriter.  Among his works were Invitation to Life, This Above All and The Flying Yorkshireman.  His most famous book was Lassie Come-Home, the story of a collie who travels a thousand miles back to her young owner.  As well, he co-wrote the “Why We Fight” series, short films explaining American involvement in World War Two.  Knight was a member of the Special Services Division, the United States Army propaganda unit.  He died on a military mission, his plane exploding over Dutch Guiana.  (Captain Otis Bryan, President Roosevelt’s pilot, speculated that a bomb had been planted on Knight’s plane in a botched assassination attempt on the President.  Roosevelt had flown in the same kind of plane and on the same route one day before on his way to the Casablanca Conference).

Knight was from an old Yorkshire Quaker family.  A “Fighting Quaker”, he served in both World Wars.  The first conversation he ever had with Jere Brylawski, his future wife, was about international peace.  Though he believed that peace was desirable, Knight felt that war was inevitable.  He admired conscientious objectors, however.  He was also known to use the plain language with his wife. (In a letter, he wrote her, “It’s me and thee, kid!”)

Knight was a fine writer.  His Lassie Come-Home is a delightful, deceptively simple book.

Gary Sandman

October 2021

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