While scholars and soldiers have long debated the Falaise campaign that developed within weeks of the 1944 invasion of occupied France, Blumenson (the US Army's official historian; Patton, 1985, etc.) offers a savvy, comprehensive overview of the battle that might well have brought WW II to an earlier end in the European theater. Drawing on source material that's disclosed piecemeal throughout the text, the author first provides scene-setting perspectives on the post-D-day situation. Having established a secure lodgement area in Normandy, Anglo-American forces (reinforced by Canadian, Free French, and Polish units) discovered that they'd nearly encircled German defenders in a narrow salient surmounted by Falaise, a small town in the Calvados region. Although the Allies eventually closed the gap, Blumenson quotes a contemporary RAF analysis that concludes that at least 240,000 Wehrmacht troops avoided death or capture on the Cotentin Peninsula, crossed the Seine with much of their heavy equipment, and lived to fight another day. In assessing blame for the great escape—which yielded the Allies a welcome (if less than complete) victory—the author faults Eisenhower (as well as his two top field generals, Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery) for failing to remember that destruction of an enemy, not the taking of terrain, is the quickest way to win a war. He also criticizes Eisenhower for ceding lieutenants like Montgomery an overly free hand to run their own shows and for confining himself too long to the tactical estimates of Overlord's planners. Also covered are the mutinous behavior of a French officer; the poor performance of a badly led Canadian division; the freewheeling Patton's subordinate position in the chain of command; and other factors that let a notable opportunity slip from the grasp of the Allies. An absorbing and authoritative account with substantial appeal to a general readership. (Twenty photos and five maps—not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11837-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet