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Fla(c)k

May 2024
1min read

In the August/September 1981 issue of the magazine there is, I think, an error in the caption accompanying the story “The Tennis Racket” on page 65.

The copy states that “Richard Sears, U.S. national champion from 1881 to 1887, indulged in a little sedate flakking for Wright and Ditson during the eighties and nineties.”

My eyebrows rose at the spelling of the word “flakking.” The word “flak” originally referred to high-powered, accurate German antiaircraft fire during World War II. Pilots in my fighter squadron back from a tough mission would often say, “That flak was so damned thick you could walk on it!”

What author Peter Andrews has in mind is a “flack”—one who deals in public relations, often in an obsequious or subservient way.

For Mr. Andrews, this letter is not intended as flak at his article. It was well-written from start to finish and I enjoyed it immensely; I hope he takes up his pen again soon. AMERICAN HERITAGE seems blessed with a vast stable of highly talented writers, and he is certainly one of them.

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