All Quiet on the Western Front (Saturday Review of Literature, 1929)
Henry Seidel Canby (1878 - 1961) was one of the founding editors of THE SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE
and in this article he put pen to paper and presented his readers with a concise summation of what he liked to call "the five phases" of war literature. Canby sensed that since 1919 there had been five unique types of war books, all produced by veterans, and that Erich Maria Remarque's (1898 – 1970) ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT was typical of the fifth variety that was appearing in 1929:
"The balance hangs true in Remarque. Pacifism is a theory, militarism is a theory, war is a necessity - not in its causes, for who really hates the enemy! - but for this doomed generation it is a fact. War for these men is normal, which does not mean that they like it."
A 1930 article about the movie can be read herecan be read here.
In Memorium, 1914 (Saturday Review of Literature, 1929)
The editors for the August 3, 1929 issue of THE SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE removed their collective caps in deep solemnity for the disasters that began that week just fifteen years earlier when the opening shots were fired that began the First World War.
It was a fitting tribute coming from a literary magazine in 1929, for that would be the year that introduced some of the finest World War I books to the reading public: Undertones of War
(Blunden), The Path of Glory
(Blake) and All Quiet on the Western Front
(Remarque), which are all mentioned herein.
''Company K'' by William March (Saturday Review of Literature, 1933)
THE NEW YORK TIMES war correspondent Arthur Ruhl (1876-1935) reviewed a book that would later be seen as a classic piece of World War One fiction: Company K
by William March (born William Edward Campbell 1893 – 1954). Awarded both the French Croix de Guerre and the Distinguished Service Cross, March gained an understanding of war and the frailties of human character as a member of the Fifth Marines fighting at Belleau Wood and participating in the big push during the San-Mihiel Offensive:
"The outstanding virtues of William March's work are those of complete absence of sentimentality and routine romanticism, of a dramatic gift constantly heightened and sharpened by eloquence of understatement."
Prisoner of War (Saturday Review of Literature, 1932)
THE SATURDAY REVIEW of LITERATURE discussed a number of World War One books while in the course of reviewing Shoot And Be Damned
by Ed Halyburton and Ralph Goll, a wartime memoir which recalled time spent in a German prisoner of war camp.
Baron Fritz & No Hard Feelings (Saturday Review of Literature, 1930)
SATURDAY REVIEW correspondent Emerson G. Taylor reviewed two World War One books: Baron Fritz by Dante scholar Karl Federn, which he liked, and No Hard Feelings, by Medal of Honor recipient John Lewis Barkley, which he did not:
"In this week's other narrative of soldier's life, John Lewis Barkley, late Corporal, K Company, 4th United States Infantry, tells the world that he and his gang were exceedingly tough 'hombres', that, in the Second Battle of the Marne and in the Meuse Argonne operations, he killed a vast number of bloodthirsty Germans with his trusty rifle, by serving a machine-gun, or with a pistol and a knife, that he was profusely decorated, was always in the fore-front of duty and danger, and spent a furlough in Paris with Marie...Ho-hum."
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How American Soldiers Viewed Their Military Experience
T.E. Lawrence of Arabia (Saturday Review of Literature, 1930)
This is a 1930 review of of Gurney Slade's fictionalized account of the World War One Arab revolt, In Lawrence's Bodyguard. The book was intended as a novel for boys and is here reviewed anonymously by one who was simply credited as, "A Friend of T.E. Lawrence". Gurney Slade (pen name for Stephen Bartlett) was libeled as "a man of taste and sensibility" and the novel was generally well liked.
"'The Arab business was a freak in my living; in ordinary times I'm plumb normal.' Normal, yes; but only the normally strong arise to be normal after trial and error."
You might also like to read this 1933 article about T.E. Lawrence.
Click here to read about Lawrence's posthumous memoir and the literary coup of 1935.
The Revolution in 1920s Fashion (Saturday Review of Literature, 1925)
A clever observer of the passing scene typed these words about the social revolution that he had been witnessing for the past six years:
"Tight-laced corsets, high collars, innumerable layers of petticoats, and what not else, may have (problematically) made the female form a thing of attractive mystery, but they made the average female herself very inapt for the action, which she was beginning to claim the right to, of leaping on moving omnibuses. In those dark ages before the war women's fashions changed from year to year, but generally speaking at the dress-makers word of command...The first short skirt sounded the knell of his dictatorship, and since then womanhood has never looked back...I say again that [today's fashion] is a phenomenon which the social historian appears to be passing over. We do not realize that a tradition of centuries has within a decade been stood its head..."
Click here to read about the fashion coup of 1922.
Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon (Saturday Review of Literature, 1932)
In 1932, one of the few English speaking fans of bull-fighting was given the task of reviewing Ernest Hemingway's (1899 – 1961) Death in the Afternoon, and came away thinking:
"Ernest Hemingway, in the handling of words as an interpretation of life, is not a brilliant and ephemeral novillero, but a matador possessed of solid and even classic virtues."
''China: The Pity of It'' (Saturday Review of Literature, 1933)
The review of J.O.P. Bland's "China: The Pity of It" which was written by Henry Kittredge Norton:
"Mr. Bland (1863 – 1945) has known his China for a third of a century and he is convinced that if that unhappy country has moved at all in the last three decades, it has moved backwards...Without relieving the Chinese of their share of the responsibility in the premises, the half-baked liberalism of the west - by which is meant Great Britain and the United States for the most part -is found to be the chief cause of expanding disaster in China..."
Available at Amazon: China - The Pity Of It
Walter Lippmann: Columnist (Saturday Review of Literature, 1933)
Attached is a 1933 interview of Walter Lippmann (1889 - 1974) that covers many of the successes and influences of his career up to that time. Lippmann was, without a doubt, one of the most respected Pulitzer Prize winning American columnists of the Twentieth Century and a sharp critic of FDR's New Deal.
Working as one of the earliest associate editors at The New Republic, he was there at the magazine's birth (1914), and returned to those offices following his service as a captain in army intelligence and aid to the U.S. Secretary of War when the First World War ended. It was at this point that his career as columnist took flight when he assumed the position as lead commentator at The New York World. The article was written by historian James Truslow Adams (1879 - 1940) who wrote of him:
"This phenomenon of Walter Lippmann is, it seems to me, a fact of possibly deep significance, and the remainder of his career will teach us not a little as to what sort of world we are living into...his intellectualism is tempered for the ordinary reader by his effort to be fair and by his fearlessness."