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.