Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyA conservative cultural critic with a passion for nude beaches and the Indy 500 auto race, Fussell (The Great War and Modern Memory) explores some of his pet topics in this miscellany of essays and articles. The title piece, a defense of Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, generated lively controversy when it first appeared in the New Republic; a spirited exchange from that journal is included here. Elsewhere, Fussell hails George Orwell's essays as a refreshing counterweight to today's ``theory-ridden'' criticism. Mulling the difference between tourists and travelers, he offers disarming observations on travel writers Paul Theroux and John Krich. One piece explores how patriotic fervor thrust Carl Sandburg's propaganda tracts into the literary limelight. Fussell has quirky, interesting things to say about gun control, war poetry, chivalry and modernism as an offshoot of the ``melodrama of the French Revolution.'' (June)
Library JournalMost of these 14 essayson topics ranging from Hiroshima to the Indy 500originally appeared in the New Republic , Sewanee Review , and other periodicals. One essay praises George Orwell for virtues that Fussell himself has cultivated: an accessible style, a lively interest in the social uses of language, and ``a power of facing unpleasant facts.'' Fussell is even keener on exposing the euphemisms and illusions of others. His most valuable pieces deal with the horrors of modern warfare and its literaturesomewhat extending and generalizing his powerful The Great War and Modern Memory (1975). Libraries with well-educated browsers would find this worthyif not mandatorywhile those covering the two World Wars would find it worthier still. Donald Ray, Manhattanville Coll. Lib., Purchase, N.Y.
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