H.G. Wells' Remarks on the Titanic Disaster (The Bookman, 1912)
Writing as a devoted socialist, H.G. Wells (1866 – 1946) saw the Titanic disaster through the lenses of one who has come to only expect the worst from the British class structure:
"It typifies perfectly to his mind the muddle of the present social situation and illustrates the incompetence of the upper class in modern society".
"It was the penetrating comment of chance upon our entire social system. Beneath a surface of magnificent efficiency was -slapdash. The ship was not even equipped to to save its third-class passengers; they placed themselves on board with an infinite confidence in the care that was to be taken of them, and most of their women and children went down with the cry of those who find themselves cheated out of life."
Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (The Bookman, 1929)
Heartlessly torn from the brittle pages of a 1929 issue of The Bookman was this summary and review of Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man by Sigfried Sassoon:
"During the war something was lost to Englishmen which they can recapture in nostalgic memories but never recover in fact. This strange novel of Sassoon's reminds one of the faintly faded colors and old-fashioned security of English sporting prints."
ALL QUIET on the WESTERN FRONT (The Bookman, 1929)
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque topped the U.S. bestseller list for all of 1929 and it was due in no small part to enthusiastic book reviews like the one we've posted here that must have numbered in the thousands throughout all of North America:
"Here is a book about the war of such extraordinary purity and force that, reading it, one seems actually never to have read of the wear before. Numberless books have been written that present the stark, physical horrors of the war in quite as full detail as "All Quiet on the Western Front, but their effects have been nullified by one's perception of the intent to shock. Many others have given us a more complete, more literary rendition of war as it strikes full upon the nerves of sensitive and intelligent men. Nothing could be less academic than Herr Remarque's book; but nothing could be more vivid."
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W.W. II: Where were the war poets?
George Bernard Shaw Comments About the Titanic Sinking (The Bookman, 1912)
On the matters involving Titanic, playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1957) hated the hero-blather he read in the press; he despised all the assorted sugary-sweet romantic rot that was associated with the ship's sinking and it was only by lying, he insisted, that the newspapers made the victims out to be, in any way, heroic.
Shaw illustrated his point by referring to the survivor account by Lady Duff-Gordon (1863 - 1935):
"She described how she escaped in the captain's boat. There was one other woman in it and ten men, twelve all told, one woman for every five men."
Click here to read the socialist ramblings of George Bernard Shaw.
Click here to read various witty remarks by George Bernard Shaw.
What the Negro Thinks (The Bookman, 1929)
This is the 1929 book review of What the Negro Thinks
by Robert Moton (1867 – 1940).
"[To the Negro] the white man sometimes seems a bit pathetic in his insistence upon keeping the worth of the Negro hidden, in refusing to recognize skill and talent, honor and virtue, strength and goodness simply because it wears a black skin. To him, the white man's apparent dread of the Negro is incomprehensible..."
Titanic Verses (The Bookman, 1912)
The Titanic catastrophe was not seen by many to be a poetic topic, however there were a few wordsmiths who did address the subject. The link above will lead you to two of these poems; one by Charles Hanson Towne (1877 - 1949), a poet, essayist and playwright who, at the time of the sinking, was serving as an editor at Designer magazine. The second poem was penned by M.C. Lehr, of whom there is no surviving information.
G.K. Chesterton Comments on the Titanic Disaster (The Bookman, 1912)
The British critic, novelist and poet G.K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936) was far more outraged by the American press coverage and the remarks made by the Yankee political classes than by any other aspect of the Titanic.
The World After W.W. I (The Bookman, 1929)
The book review of Winston Churchill's 1929 tome, The Aftermath:
"All too frequently Mr. Churchill passes lightly over the story he alone can tell and repeats the stories that other men have told."...[Yet] no one who wants to understand the world he lives in can afford to miss The Aftermath. Would that all contemporary statesmen were one-tenth as willing as Mr. Churchill to tell what they know."
More about Winston Churchill can be read here.
Read the thoughts of one W.W. I veteran who regrets having gone to war...
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Debated G.B. Shaw (The Bookman, 1912)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930) was outraged by the dismissive, bitter comments made by the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1957) regarding the many acts of heroics that took place as the ship was sinking.
Father Francis Duffy of the Fighting 69th (The Bookman, 1920)
Father Francis P. Duffy (1874 - 1932) was the well-loved regimental chaplain for the illustrious, old New York infantry regiment known as "the Fighting 69th".
Next time you find yourself walking near Times Square in New York City, you'll see a statue erected in his memory situated behind a statue of the popular songster who composed Over There - George M. Cohan (1878 - 1942). These memorials will be found at Broadway and 7th Avenue (between 46th & 47th streets). Both men knew the neighborhood well - to Cohan it was known as the "Theater District" while Duffy knew it as "Hell's Kitchen", and it was his parish.
The Bookman reviewed Duffy's memoir as "a book which carries A.E.F. readers back to lousy, old French barns, to chilly, soupy Argonne mud and, at last, to a wintry Rhineland...".
You can can read more about Father Duffy's war here...
Click here to read articles about W.W. I poetry.