I'm interested in him as a historical poet: that is, he wrote much poetry on historical themes. He said of himself, "Many poets are exclusively poets....moreI'm interested in him as a historical poet: that is, he wrote much poetry on historical themes. He said of himself, "Many poets are exclusively poets... I, I am a poet-historian. I could never write a novel or a play, but I feel in me a hundred and twenty-five voices that tell me that I could write history."
From that, he must be a master of historical voices. Are historical poets rare? Who else is there?
I'll add to this review as I go along; poetry is like that. Beginning with one that has always intrigued me, 'Expecting the Barbarians.' I'll finish with it too. It is endlessly suggestive on the historical theme of barbarians at the gates. (less)
Dark for a Star Trek story and above-average writing. I keep a stash of Trek novels for comfort food but this was more than cookies. With grungy space...moreDark for a Star Trek story and above-average writing. I keep a stash of Trek novels for comfort food but this was more than cookies. With grungy spaceships. (less)
"After [Liddell Hart's Great Captains Unveiled] came a series of articles on Chingis Khan contributed to the Canadian Defence Quarterly during the years 1932 and 1933, by Squadron Leader [Royal Canadian Air Force] C.C. Walker. Six years later these appeared revised in a book called Jenghiz Khan. Although that part of the work dealing with China suffers from the inadequate authorities on the subject available to Walker, the chapters covering the invasion of Transoxiana, Khurasan and Afghanistan are of great value."
He finds Walker's explication of Jenghiz Khan's strategy in Turkestan quite brilliant. One soldier to another. Strong on the geographic fight, and he's certainly among the Mongols' biggest military fans. Even in North China he claims that a certain Samuka, known only for two raids and not heard from again, stamped himself as "one of the great cavalry leaders of history."
However, the Desmond Martin (very thorough on North China) quotes extensively from Walker in an appendix on this campaign, so you can more or less have two for the price of one. (less)
Dropped. I must have tried three times, and forgotten in between that I’ve tried before. Of course I have: it has an anarchist planet. But the anarchis...moreDropped. I must have tried three times, and forgotten in between that I’ve tried before. Of course I have: it has an anarchist planet. But the anarchist planet is so stifling, to mind and spirit, I am dispirited or worse, and I haven’t made it far enough along to see much of the capitalist planet, except through the gross spectacles of the anarchists. Once I was young and earnest and subscribed to socialist newspapers (but didn’t read them much – there are better things to read than newspapers). Then, I found this book drab and unreadable, and so I do today. It put me off Ursula Le Guin, which may have been a misfortune, since a few reviews suggest she is at her most heavy-handed here.(less)
The Russian nineteenth century I have had down as the most interesting century that ever was. These memoirs are extremely readable. Highlights include...moreThe Russian nineteenth century I have had down as the most interesting century that ever was. These memoirs are extremely readable. Highlights include his moving pages on the abolition of serfdom; his rather exciting escape from prison; his unstinting admiration for revolutionary women; and a crowd of incidents, tragedies, idealism, bravery in suffering, that might be told in a paragraph each, but that strike home the more truly for not being overdrawn. Amazing times. Warmly recommended. (less)
Stranger was pervasive when I was a kid and I knew it by heart along with the crowd. Had I read this then, who knows? I’m almost to sorry to have visi...moreStranger was pervasive when I was a kid and I knew it by heart along with the crowd. Had I read this then, who knows? I’m almost to sorry to have visited Heinlein again now, as I’ve thought ‘grok’ the greatest of invented words, and I owe him an introduction to Rodin’s sculpture (his descriptions of which I nearly know, still, by heart). As for the gist of the story, strictly I’ve forgotten, but I was in the spirit at the time.
I remember I ‘read around’ the women, ignored their presence… I kind of pretended they were pets. That must have been the habit of the day, to cope with such as Heinlein: I’ve lost that trick these days, and have to slap on this book a warning label for Graphic Sexist Content. My God. But let’s move on.
Maybe, against any sense or sanity, I’ll go back and find out what that other Mike was about (this book has Mike the Computer, everybody’s favourite character). My very bones rebel in me against what this book was about. But my bones are inarticulate, and I probably should have known better than to read a Heinlein at my age. I was tempted in by ‘prison moon throws off its shackles’ but this was a strangely unimpassioned revolution whose cause was material self-interest and whose slogan, of course, you know. I might have been into his polyamorous families, except that his emphasis is on family values (familiar ones), the single life is despised as usual, and snippets like the information that no male in this ongoing group family has ever washed the dishes, undercut the project for me.
I enjoyed the yarn. Rattling along with dialogue; one scene of dialogue straddled three chapters, I swear; I think he even dispensed with stage directions. I’ll happily listen to people talk and interact, for whatsoever page count you like; on the other hand, the equal page count of communications technology was for another audience than me. Living in a convict colony myself, I note the Aussie slang. I did want to see more of Mike. (less)