WARRIOR DREAMS

PARAMILITARY CULTURE IN POST-VIETNAM AMERICA

Powerful, deadly trends now present in US society are traced to a loss of male self-esteem and national pride following our defeat in Vietnam — in this fluid, captivating analysis from Gibson (Sociology/California State University; The Perfect War, 1986). Claiming the "New War" mentality as a fresh wrinkle in the fabric of post-Vietnam America — in which killing capacity via new technology merges with traditions of a warrior's solo pursuit of guts and glory — Gibson's evidence is compelling. When Soldier of Fortune magazine premiered in 1975, New Warriors gained both an advocate and an outlet for their dreams, and the annual SOF convention in Las Vegas became a perfect training ground. Likewise, the "action-adventure" genre achieved new popularity as Sylvester Stallone and Clint Eastwood updated the John Wayne warrior in movies, while reams of visceral, macho fiction titillated male readers. Used by such heroes, handguns and similar weapons became the rage; facilities like Arizona's Gunsite Ranch taught the art of shooting-to-kill to cops and Rambo wannabes, while paramilitary groups like Aryan Nation prospered. In the 80's, unfortunately, with mercenary options few and US conflicts limited, the lust for lethal encounters to prove one's manhood was vented on innocent citizens, and incidents of mass-murder rose accordingly. Society is fighting back — in the form of gun-control legislation and lawsuits — but nothing less than an overhaul of family structure and gender roles is seen as a lasting solution. Tightly knit, wide-ranging, and well researched — with Gibson's own experience as a Gunsite Ranch trainee recounted: a profoundly troubling assessment of America at risk.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0809015781

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1994

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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