BEING PRESENT

GROWING UP IN HITLER'S GERMANY

Here, Schumann (German Literature and Language/Smith College) presents an absorbing and thoughtful recollection of—and attempt to understand—his childhood and adolescence in Nazi Germany. The author, son of a pilot on the nearby Kiel Canal, gives a warts-and-all portrait of average, decent people. Worn down by defeat and unemployment, his family and their friends, though skeptical of the Nazis' ideological claims, welcomed not only the stability and prosperity they initially provided but also the restoration of German pride. But it was all, Schumann has concluded, a massive brainwashing exercise—in particular of the young, who were organized from the age of ten into paramilitary groups in which their natural inclination for adventure and heroism was deliberately manipulated. Living in a small northern town where there was only one Jewish family, Schumann was, he says, unaware of the camps until the war was over, and he suggests that most Germans never took the Nazi racial policies seriously. Born in 1927, the author was old enough to join the German Army in 1944 but—like many of his peers—put off enlisting, unable to believe that the war in Europe was ending; long subjected to strict military discipline, they could not conceive of a defeated army. The propaganda of Goebbels, Schumann notes, was effective right up to the end, when the Nazi minister held out the promise of new weapons that would provide final victory. ``It was simply not possible for us to believe the war was lost,'' Schumann reports. ``We were psychologically not capable of accepting the reality that the nearly five-year-long gigantic efforts of the German people had been in vain.'' Merely serviceable prose, but what comes shining through here are both the author's integrity and his determination to describe just what it was like to grow up in a society in which ordinary life was increasingly sacrificed to the needs of a relentless ideology. (Twenty-two illustrations—not seen.)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-87338-447-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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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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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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