THE PARADISE OF BOMBS by Scott Russell Sanders


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A group of antiquated essays of the old-fashioned ""1 went upon a mountain and this is what I saw"" type. Most of these pieces are dull, only because the topics are so timeworn that Sanders really cannot face down the competition. His epigraphs are from the Book of Job and Thoreau, and indeed readers might look to these two sources for more of the same, only better. However, despite his defeat in nature writing, a couple of essays do shine. These are where Sanders discusses emotions and experiences uniquely his own. Sanders' father worked in a munitions plant during the boy's early years, and the sound of old bombs being detonated ruined a period of his childhood, pulling him off his food, and generally debilitating his nervous system. This is heartfelt stuff, and effective. Likewise, when Sanders addresses the subject of kid's military toys, with extensive weaponry gadgets and the marketing of violence and war to America's young, he is a cogent and valuable essayist. Unfortunately, these essays are in the minority here, but they speak of sincere emotion in a way that the rest fail to do. Is the essay as a medium so passÉ that only an extraordinary infusion of emotion can make it palatable? Good on bombs then, middling on nature: an only partly satisfying collection.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
ISBN: 0807063436
Publisher: Univ. of Georgia Press