A rare gift for vision, a sense of drama, a genius for the right word, an imaginative sense of people and story are here applied to the beginnings of a great people. Winston Churchill was endowed with a sense of history- and this is an ambitious project into which he has poured his great gifts. 'Begun in 1939, now finished, to be issued in four volumes over the next three years, this will be for the average reader the definitive history; for the student an inspiration for further study. For Sir Winston makes even his earliest period, in the dawn of the island's checkered history, seem alive. One goes through successive invasions, conquests, struggles for power with an awareness of the contribution each invader, each conqueror made to the building of a nation. Romans, Danes, Normans, each in turn became part of the life stream. Men advanced the island's development- or threw it back for long periods. Great figures and events took place on the stage of history. The things that characterize the English speaking race today put down roots that survived. Churchill does not hesitate to illumine the past through contrast and comparison with the present. He makes his story a living, growing thing. His human beings stand out against their times- good and evil as they may be. He reinterprets old legends, retaining much we learned in childhood, but throwing new light upon it. Exciting and revealing reading, this provides the background we need for other reading-fact and fiction, and leaves us with eager anticipation for the volumes to come.

Pub Date: April 23, 1956

ISBN: 0304341010

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1956

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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

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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

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