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Prologue is WHQR's monthly book discussion, hosted by Ben Steelman of the Star News. Takes place on the second Monday of the month, at 7pm. Prologue is currently hosted via Zoom Webinar.

Prologue: "Breaking Point" by John Rhodes, February 10th


Monday, February 10th

The MC Erny Gallery

On Monday, February 10th, at noon in the MC Erny Gallery, host Ben Steelman of The Star News will sit down with author John Rhodes to discuss his latest book, "Breaking Point."


John Rhodes was born in World War II while his father was serving at an RAF Fighter Command airfield in southern England. After the war he grew up in London, where, he says, the shells of bombed-out buildings 'served as our adventure playgrounds.' Rhodes graduated from Cambridge University where he studied history. His career in international banking took him all around the world. After many years living on the West Side of Manhattan, Rhodes now lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. 'My traveling days are over, ' he says. Rhodes rues the decline of history as a required field of study. 'If you don't know where you came from, you don't understand why you're here, let alone where you going to be next.' Reflecting Rhodes' search for historical accuracy, the battles in Breaking Point conform to the actual performance specifications of the aircraft, down to the details of their rate of climb and turning circles.


It is August, 1940. Hitler’s triumphant Third Reich has crushed all Europe—except Britain. As Hitler launches a massive aerial assault, only the heavily outnumbered Fighter Command and the iron will of Winston Churchill can stop him. Johnnie Shaux, a Spitfire fighter pilot, must summon up the fortitude to fly into conditions in which death is all but inevitable, and continue to do so until the inevitable occurs… Eleanor Rand, a brilliant Fighter Command mathematician, must find her role in a man’s world. She studies the control room map tracking the ebbs and flows of the conflict, and sees the glimmerings of a radical breakthrough… Breaking Point is based on actual events in the Battle of Britain. The story alternates between Johnnie, face to face with the enemy, and Eleanor, using ‘zero-sum’ mathematical theory to evolve a strategic model of the battle. Their parallel stories merge as the battle reaches its climax and they confront danger together.

Mary Bradley moved to Wilmington from Los Angeles, CA in May 2007 with her husband Frank and twin baby daughters, Maggie and Kate. In California, Mary had been Drive Director and the producer of Elvis Mitchell's nationally syndicated public radio interview program "The Treatment" for public radio station KCRW for ten years. Mary was raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Boston University. Mary recently served as President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Cape Fear Chapter.