“What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” Owen asked in his “Anthem for Doomed Youth.” For Egremont, the poems serve...

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SOME DESPERATE GLORY

THE FIRST WORLD WAR THE POETS KNEW

Poetry reveals the devastating trajectory of war.

On the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I, historian Egremont (Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia, 2011, etc.) considers the intersecting lives and work of 11 British poets who were soldiers and esteemed contributors to the burgeoning genre of war poetry. Many of the author’s subjects are likely to be familiar to readers, including Rupert Brooke, Charles Sorley, Siegfried Sassoon, Isaac Rosenberg, Edward Thomas, Wilfred Owen and Robert Graves; others, such as Edmund Blunden and Julian Grenfell, are lesser known today. During the war, Egremont writes, “the poets began to be lionized,” invited to give readings in elite salons and sought by publishers. Six chapters focus on each year of war and its aftermath, offering an adroit biographical and historical overview, followed by a selection of poems that chronicle the writers’ spirits, as they changed “from enthusiasm to pitiful weariness,” from hope to disillusion. “Cast away regret and rue,” Charles Sorley wrote in 1914. “Think what you are marching to.” By January 1915, his letter to a friend revealed a deepening sense of dismay: “We don’t seem to be winning, do we? It looks like an affair of years.” A few months later, he began a poem with lines that could have served as his epitaph: “Such, such is Death: no triumph: no defeat: / Only an empty pail….” In October, aged 20, he was killed by a sniper. Owen, held in high regard by Sassoon, was killed, age 25, in 1918; Brooke, Thomas and Grenfell were already dead. Those who survived—e.g., Sassoon and Graves—“couldn’t leave the war, even if…they wanted to move on.”

“What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” Owen asked in his “Anthem for Doomed Youth.” For Egremont, the poems serve as “holy glimmers” of lives lost and as powerful protests against the hell of war.

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-28032-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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