Striking proof of the banality of evil.

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THE NUREMBERG INTERVIEWS

AN AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIST’S CONVERSATIONS WITH THE DEFENDANTS AND WITNESSES

A rare document: a psychiatrist’s working notes on Nazi officials awaiting trial for war crimes.

Goldensohn, who served on the US army medical staff at Nuremberg in 1946, may have intended to publish his interviews with the likes of Hermann Goering and Julius Streicher one day, but he did not. A pity, for the documents gathered here provide much insight into the minds and lives of the Third Reich’s founders and rulers, who survived the war through no end of intrigue and backstabbing. Not surprisingly, most of Goldensohn’s subjects deny having committed crimes, protest that they were merely following orders, profess having had no knowledge of the Holocaust. Thus, Goldensohn writes, Admiral Karl Doenitz, who surrendered Germany to the Allies, “knew nothing of plans for an aggressive war, knew nothing about the extermination of the Jews, nothing about the extermination of 30 million Slavs, nothing of the atrocities in Russia and Poland,” adding, “He sees only that he was innocent of any crime, past or present, and that any attempt to incriminate him or any of the others on trial with him is political connivery.” Similarly, Hans Frank, the Nazi governor general of Poland, insists that “the extermination of the Jews was a personal idea of Hitler’s” in which he had played no part. Goering asserts, “Many of us in the party were opposed to the sharp racial laws and politics, but we were too busy.” (He adds, “I made other proposals, as for example that Jews who had been living in Germany for a hundred years or more should be exempted.” And so on: By the time he reaches Nazi theoretician Streicher, whom many of the defendants blame for their woes, Goldensohn is plainly fed up: “He smiles constantly, the smile something between a grimace and a leer, twisting his large, thin-lipped mouth, screwing up his froggy eyes, a caricature of a lecher posing as a man of wisdom.”

Striking proof of the banality of evil.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2004

ISBN: 0-375-41469-X

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2004

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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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