The Spyglass, Views and Reviews, 1924-1930: Selected and Edited by John Tyree Fain

By Donald Davidson | Go to book overview

new books. This may seem, in the editor of a book page, like rank heresy. But in an age of ballyhoo, I, for one, would prefer to see books exempt from noisy advocacy. And it might be better anyway, even in the sheer interest of widening the book marker, to preach somewhat after this contrary fashion:

"My good friend, I should advise you, as a free American citizen, to have as little to do with books as the laws of compulsory education will allow. For books are dangerous. They will probably do you no good. They will disturb you and put ideas in your head, and they may corrupt your morals if you have any left to corrupt. Books are for idlers, and you are a busy man. Books are for poor people, who don't have the money to intoxicate themselves with bootleg liquor and must get drunk on words. Books are for the intellectually chosen--a class which you, as a democrat, despise. Let them alone."


Sassoon's War* Critic's Almanac October 12, 1930

Last week I wrote of Mr. Fredenburgh Soldiers March, indicating in terms that I trust may be considered favorable, that I thought it an honest war book, observant and firm, not very "literary," and yet gaining, in comparison with many American books of the sort, in being quite without pose. We who read books like this as soon as they appear are always under some embarrassment. We read a book,

____________________
*
This is one of many reviews of World War I books. Davidson read all of them and reviewed most of them himself, checking them carefully against his own experiences in France as a First Lieutenant, 324th Infantry, 81st Division.

-188-

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