World War II from inside the Wehrmacht. Knappe, one of the Third Reich's best and brightest, trained under Rommel and distinguished himself rapidly, meeting the FÅhrer as a young peacetime soldier. He lived and fought through most of the major campaigns (France, Russia, Italy, the defense of Berlin), cheating death time after time, surviving for nearly five years as a Russian prisoner. Here, aided by Brusaw (The Business Writer's Handbook—not reviewed), Knappe offers precise, affecting memories of the WW II era—of his family, his circle, and a Jewish friend who had to leave Germany; of the way people lived in different places he was billeted, and of the textures of his life: the Russian winter and the hell of combat are palpable. No everyman, Knappe comes off as sensitive as well as dutiful, and remorseless in his respect for his own life. Yet the self-deceptions of nationalism and war appear in justifying asides here and there. He was bothered by the use of children in the war, he tells us, but outraged when a teenaged leader failed to report that they had fled their position, and he was nonplussed by a Russian woman who thought Fascism would be as bad as Communism. His memoir displays an unnerving acceptance of an establishment: There is no hint of civil disobedience. Knappe was disturbed about the treatment of Jews and wondered, ``Why invade Russian when we have a treaty?''- -but his ethic of discipline did not allow him the initiative of those who plotted to kill Hitler. Withal, a superb description of the German war machine from creation to defeat, and a fine, absorbing chronicle of a remarkable time. (Forty-five b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: July 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-517-58895-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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?

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?

No Comments Yet