This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for September 19, 2016: September

Sep. 19, 2016: birthday: William Golding

It’s the birthday of William Golding (books by this author), born in St. Columb Minor, Cornwall (1911). He went to Oxford, published a book of poems, and became a teacher. Then he joined the navy and served as a lieutenant on a rocket launcher. He was faced with a huge ethical decision when he learned that he would have to take the ship across a minefield in order to be on time for the D-Day operations. He couldn’t decide whether to risk the lives of his men or the lives of all those participating in D-Day who needed their help. Finally, he risked it and made it in time. Later, he learned that the minefield wasn’t real — it was put on a map to fool the Germans. That experience made Golding think about how moral decisions could rest on things that didn’t even exist. He thought a lot about ethical dilemmas, and about the horror of war, and he wrote a novel about a group of good English schoolboys whose plane crashes on a desert island, and who descend into the extremes of savage behavior. For the title of the novel, he translated the word “Beelzebub” from Hebrew into English: “Lord of the Flies.” The novel was rejected more than a dozen times, but when Lord of the Flies finally came out in 1954, it became a classic.