Mark's Reviews > The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King by T.H. White
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's review
Mar 05, 2008

it was amazing

I’ve never given King Arthur much thought. He and his Round Table never struck much interest in me. Always seemed like kids’ stories and folklore in the vein of John Henry, Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan.

But this is genuinely a fantastic piece of work. It’s well written, sure, but T.H. White had something to say. Published in 1952, just seven years after World War II, in the midst of American congressmen performing a vehement witch hunt for communists and a Cold War, many people had a lot to say about war, about government, about right and wrong, Right and Might and war and peace.

We all can get caught up in the swords stuck in stones, being turned into birds or fish, or dashing knights saving damsels in distress, but “The Once and Future King” is about how we act as humans — wrong or right, good or bad — and the repercussions of the decisions made, not only by our elected or appointed officials, but by us as individuals.

Maybe war has a place in the grand scheme — this mystical and unreal existence perpetrated by some God, gods or some insane accident. Maybe our instincts and our inner being is violent and all the murder, rape, genocide, war, fighting and hate is as natural as breathing.

But just as King Arthur knew his best friend Lancelot was screwing his wife, the optimist Arthur knew man was inherently evil, but he’d rather give everyone the benefit of the doubt and believe there was inherent good. In other words, hope.
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