Kreimeier, former cultural editor of the German magazine Der Spiegel, traces the history of the film company that is synonymous with the golden era of German film. Ufa, the Universum Film-Aktiongesellschaft (Universal Film Corporation), was the heart of German cinema from the early 1920s through the fall of the Third Reich, ``Germany's imperial purveyor of magical images.'' As Kreimeier explains in this exhaustively complete history of the company, Ufa's roots were in the ultranationalist German right wing, and from the very beginning, the corporation's vision was linked to the political agenda of the Wilhelmine old guard. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, the company was the brainchild of General Ludendorff and his underlings, who felt that the film industry had't done enough to propagandize on behalf of German armed forces during the recently concluded world war. With the Deutsche Bank playing a principal role throughout its history, Ufa would continue to be linked to Pan-German ideologues with ties to heavy industry; in 1927, the company was taken over by Alfred Hugenberg, chairman of the Krupp armaments empire and head of one of the ultra-right political parties. And when the Nazis came to power, Ufa, which had already swallowed many of its competitors, was the perfect vehicle for Goebbels's vision of a state-controlled film industry serving the needs of the Nazi Party. In spite of its political roots, Ufa managed to produce many memorable films and a host of great talents, including directors like Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch, stars like Emil Jannings and, perhaps most important of all, producer Erich Pommer. Kreimeier is more concerned with the political and economic machinations of the company and the cultural history that produced it than with the films themselves, but the book that results is a model of unflinching corporate history. An essential piece of film history and riveting reading. Only star-gazing film buffs will be disappointed. (121 b&w photos)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8090-9483-5

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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


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



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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