William "Cump" Sherman was arguably the best, most imaginative and original general the American army has ever produced. He single handedly invented modern warfare. He was the first to recognize that winning wars was a matter of destroying the enemies economic, industrial and agricultural base, not forcing their army to retreat or surrender as had been the goal of previous generals in previous wars. Sherman changed the face and nature of war. His is the strategy followed by all armies from the civil war to the Vietnam war.
This does not make his auto-biography easy to read or enjoyable however. I have read about 80% of this book and I must say it is tedious, long winded and at times pompous. Those sections dealing with Cump's early life in Ohio and West Point time as well as those dealing with major battles in the civil war are interesting and readable. The remainder is much less so. Although Sherman is listed as the author I find it difficult to believe he did not have help from a political speech writer of the kind we see and hear in the current and previous White House administrations. There are too many words and occasional bouts of hyperbole. I give it 4 stars and urge you to read it if you have any interest in American history. Should you have no interest in history one would be wise to give the book a pass.
This is a nasty little attack by one of Americas iconic and exceptional writers against another of our iconic and exceptional writers. Both have made great and lasting contributions to our national literature. Had this short piece not included Twain's masterful satire, wit and sly humor (something not found in Cooper) it would have demeaned Twain more than Cooper. As it is some of the descriptions are spot on and others at least generate a chuckle. Clearly not the best or most noble work of Mr. Twain but humorous is you have read both authors.
The Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James are truly unique in the genre in that they have very little to do with ghosts. They are not frightening, disturbing, horrific, suspenseful or even especially thought provoking however there is certainly a bland kind of interest coupled with a calm almost uneventful flow of the story which I find very comfortable. In truth they almost all deal with books, manuscripts, documents, archives or libraries. As one reads the book one has very much the feeling that he is seated in a comfortable chair in a darkened university library passing the time with a well written but not especially engrossing novel. In truth this may not seem an especially strong recommendation for the book however as I read the book on a lazy Saturday afternoon and evening whilst the sky was overcast and the rain seemed unending I found it an enjoyable and satisfying experience.
Mr. James was apparently a well known medievalist and Cambridge professor who enjoyed telling these stories to his students. It is not known if the enjoyment was reciprocated. Henry David Throeau once wrote “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” Were I to follow Throeau's advice I would put this book about at the 50/50 mark.
Any of us who were subject to the cloying and saccharine Winnie-the-Poo stories in our early youth will have no doubt dismissed A. A. Milne as a second rate author unfit for consumption by anyone over the age of 9. This book will change your mind and make you wonder why the author spent so much time on childish tripe. The Red House Mystery deals with all the traditional English mystery elements. A manor house, several guests, a menacing family member, a variety of peculiar servants, an amateur detective, his trusty sidekick and a murder. Mix this with an underground tunnel, a bowling green and a miscreant brother and you have the recipe for an excellent British style page turner.
I was especially pleased with Antony Gillingham the amateur detective and Bill Beverly his somewhat un-Watson like assistant. It is a great shame these two did not appear in other similar mystery novels. They might have rivaled Sherlock and Watson in interest.
Milne was a Cambridge grad and math major who wrote plays, novels, and a virulently anti-war book titled Peace With Honour as well as his Winnie-the-Poo fluff.
I strongly recommend The Red House Mystery.