End as a Man — Calder Willingham

Jim Flynn put this book in his top 5 novels list, so I grabbed it when I found a copy recently. He said it was the greatest novel portraying contemporary American college life. “Contemporary” in this case means circa 1950, and it is actually set in a military college, so it’s presumably a bit different from a civilian college like Harvard or whatever. It does seem a bit bizarre, with the ubiquitous corporal punishment and merciless bullying of first-years by older students who are still just out of their teens. I don’t know whether this weirdness is due to being 60 years ago, being American, being a military school, or being a work of fiction. I suppose it’s all four, but I do get the impression that the general features of the books’s college life are based on fact. Holy cow, what a hell-hole it must have been.

So the characters end up in various unedifying situations, usually of their own making, and we see them as they deal with things, usually badly. It becomes apparent that the novel mostly concerns the misfits and bad hats of the academy, which explains a lot about the dramas that befall them. The book ends with a couple of eloquent and very different speeches, and closes with just deserts all round.

Continue reading

This review is about , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment

“Always be smart; seldom be certain.” -…

“Always be smart; seldom be certain.” – John Allen Paulos

Tweeted by bnnt on

Champs https://t.co/SKmruOnHOS

Champs twitter.com/bnnt/status/925260990542778369/photo/1

Tweeted by bnnt on

RT @stephenfry: There’s nothing I can…

RT @stephenfry: There’s nothing I can add to this twitter.com/stephenfry/status/918762026192789504/v…

Tweeted by bnnt on

After special votes, National lost 2…

After special votes, National lost 2 seats to Labour and Greens. Interesting. #decision17 www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2017/

Tweeted by bnnt on

RT @jhrlnd: Exciting news. Well done…

RT @jhrlnd: Exciting news. Well done #auckland and @SocEntAkl twitter.com/_SEWF/status/913202456514854912

Tweeted by bnnt on

RT @jhrlnd: When do we get to the point…

RT @jhrlnd: When do we get to the point where we say current economic/business theory is wrong, and stop teaching it? #SEWF2017

Tweeted by bnnt on

Word of the day: flearn….

Word of the day: flearn. twitter.com/Ruby_Sandal/status/912823686406664192

Tweeted by bnnt on

“Apple has lost its way, driven by…

“Apple has lost its way, driven by concern for style and appearance at the expense of understandability and usage.” www.fastcodesign.com/3053406/how-apple-is-giving-d…

Tweeted by bnnt on

Yes @jhrlnd our family has spent so…

Yes @jhrlnd our family has spent so many hours exploring Suzy’s World — thanks @Suzy_Cato

Tweeted by bnnt on