WARTIME

UNDERSTANDING AND BEHAVIOR IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR

In this engaging, elegant, and enlightening study of WW II. Fussell (Class; Abroad; Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing, etc.) continues the revelatory work he did in his National Book Award-winning The Great War and Modern Memory (1975). By turns amusing and shocking, Fussell's unforgivingly cleareyed vision takes in both official and uncensored ephemera—along with published accounts—to overturn the upbeat view of the war promulgated by both the government's publicity machine and the general media. Beginning with a discussion of our total unpreparedness and general incompetence—"precision" bombing often fell on our own troops; the RAF were in danger from their own frightened ground support—Fussell turns to the popular rumors, slang, stories, and humor of the troops. A chapter on "chickenshit" reveals loathsome small-mindedness endemic in the system; the chapter title "Drinking Far Too Much, Copulating Too Little" nicely sums up the G.I.'s preoccupations. But Fussell is at his best as he examines the forced high-mindedness of official wartime rhetoric and the growth of "Accentuate the Positive"-toned publicity as a distinctly essential facet of modern war. Finishing with a survey of wartime literature, including Cyril Connolly's Horizon magazine and the paperback publishing programs that flowered with the war, he concludes that even now "America has not yet understood what the Second World War was like. . ." Funny, upsetting, at times brilliantly illuminating.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1989

ISBN: 0195037979

Page Count: 346

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1989

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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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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