Even allowing for the destruction of the German WW I military archives during the allied bombing of Potsdam, the absence of studies of the German side of that war has been remarkable—a deficiency, however, excellently remedied here by noted military- historian Asprey (Frederick the Great, 1986, etc.). Though his focus is on Hindenburg and Ludendorff, Asprey deals with the strategy and to some extent the tactics employed by the Germans throughout the war. Some of this is well-known; much is not. At the outbreak of war, he says, Hindenburg was an obscure general already in retirement, while Ludendorff was the celebrated quartermaster general to the Second Army. The two were transferred to the Russian Front, and there Hindenburg made his reputation—or had it made for him—in the battle of Tannenburg. As Asprey reports, one of Hindenburg's staff, when later showing visitors the headquarters at Tannenburg, became accustomed to saying that ``the Field Marshal slept here before and after the battle, and between us, also during the battle.'' Hindenburg became a household god and, according to Asprey, scarcely more useful: The actual work was done by Ludendorff. The fame of the ``Duo'' expanded until they were able to dominate German policy-making, but while they had a superb machine at their command, Asprey says, they lacked any clear conception as to how the war was to be won. They accepted, for example, totally unrealistic estimates as to what unrestricted submarine warfare could achieve. And their ultimate contribution to Germany history was to conceal their own mistakes, and to give rise to the legend that Germany's defeat had been caused by a stab in the back—a legend that led directly to the rise of Hitler. Though his prose is sometimes florid, Asprey has made splendid use of newfound materials and given us the best account yet of WW I German strategy. (Thirty-two pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 1991

ISBN: 0-688-08226-2

Page Count: 600

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet