A touching biography of a World War II soldier that unfolds like a mystery.

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Love, Bill

FINDING MY FATHER THROUGH LETTERS FROM WORLD WAR II

A woman doggedly investigates the details of her father’s life, a man she hardly knew.

When debut author Krulick-Belin was only a child living in Queens in 1960, her father was hospitalized for bone marrow cancer, and the morning of his departure was the last time she ever saw him. An intensely private woman, her mother responded to the tragedy of the loss with an impregnable reticence, zealously guarding information about the man and her life with him from her children. The author grew up under the regime of this “deafening silence,” not even knowing what disease felled her father until years later. On her 40th birthday, one of her aunts gave her a series of cassettes on which the relative recorded a sort of informal family history, but even that studiously excluded huge pieces of the overall puzzle. In 2001, the author’s mother grew ill and moved to a nursing home in Florida near one of her sons, leaving Krulick-Belin to pack up the apartment. In the process, her husband found an old box of letters her father wrote to her mother, which the author was allowed to keep on the condition that she only read them after her mother’s death. Her mother died about a year after the move, but Krulick-Belin, anxious about what secrets the box might reveal, waited six years before she finally perused the contents. The letters were sent from various theaters of battle during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, many while her father participated in the Army’s North African campaign. Krulick-Belin reproduces the letters in full here, and they reveal a tender man, insecurely anxious about the requiting of his affections. And as the author tenaciously examines her father’s life, she learns about her mother, too, who, unbeknown to her, had a prior marriage that was annulled. This remembrance, the result of extraordinary detective work, is a moving love letter from daughter to father but also a testament to the emotional significance of family legacy. For the reader unacquainted with the author’s family, this biography may seem both too long and too detailed. Nonetheless, it remains a poignant fusion of history and familial devotion.

A touching biography of a World War II soldier that unfolds like a mystery. 

Pub Date: April 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4575-4379-1

Page Count: 530

Publisher: Dog Ear

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2016

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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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