THE CHANCY WAR

WINNING IN CHINA, BURMA, AND INDIA IN WORLD WAR II

Here, Fischer (American Studies/Notre Dame; Notre Dame Remembered, 1986) writes vividly of the ``Green Hell'' of southeast Asia after Japan struck in WW II. Chancy indeed was the Allied outlook when the Japanese military machine cut the Burma Road, thereby isolating China from the West while Japan advanced toward India. Fischer, who during the war was the army's official historian for the region, honors many heroes: General ``Vinegar Hoe'' Stillwell, who led his battered G.I.s and Chinese in the incredible ``walk out of Burma'' retreat; General Chennault and his volunteer American ``Flying Tigers,'' who destroyed hundreds of Japanese planes; the legendary Ranger regiment of ``Merrill's Marauders''; American airmen who daily flew the ``Hump'' over the high Himalayas with material to help keep China in the war; the fighting British generals Wavell and Slim; Father Stuart, the brave Irish missionary who rallied his Burmese tribesmen while confounding the enemy and saving thousands of lives. Less well treated, though, are the corrupt Chiang Kai- shek and the overbearing British Raj, which did little to aid the building of the Ledo Road through fearsome, dense jungles amid intense heat, monsoons, deadly fauna, and the Japanese enemy—one of the great feats of the war. When completed, the Ledo Road joined the retaken Burma Road to open up a 1750-mile lifeline from Calcutta to Kunming, China. Short on background material and chronology, but Fischer's impressionistic, anecdotal style will engage military-history fans. (Sixteen-page b&w insert—not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-517-58424-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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