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Jonathan Rick

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Portrait of America: From Before Columbus to the End of Reconstruction
Portrait of America: From Before Columbus to the End of Reconstruction
von Stephen B. Oates
Preis: EUR 42,52

5.0 von 5 Sternen Popular two-volume collection of secondary sources, 23. Mai 2000
This popular two-volume collection of secondary sources explores America's social and political history from pre-Revolutionary times through the present. Oates takes a biographical approach, portraying our history as the struggle of real people who have sometimes triumphed and sometimes failed. Each chapter contains two or three articles that provide different perspectives on an historical period or question. Each selection was carefully chosen for its literary merit, importance to historical scholarship, and potential to excite students' interest. Many of the selections and authors represented have won Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and other honors.

The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style
von E. B. White
Preis: EUR 9,00

4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A pithy classic; omit needless words, 9. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Elements of Style (Taschenbuch)
In 1918, as mandatory reading for the fall semester of his English 8 course at Cornell University, Professor William Strunk Jr. copyrighted and privately published in Ithaca, N.Y., a textbook called The Elements of Style. In 1919 Strunk had The Elements reprinted for the spring and fall semesters of that year's course - in which E.B. White was a pupil.
Then in 1957 - allowing for the professor's death on 26 Sept. 1946 - one H.A. Stevenson, editor of the Cornell Alumni News and a long-time friend of the recipient, filched from the Cornell Library one of its two remaining copies of The Elements and mailed it to a well-known friend of Strunk's, Elwyn Brooks White, who had graduated from Cornell in 1921. An essayist for the New Yorker, White, on seeing the book again, was inspired to write an affectionate piece about the late professor ("A Letter from the East," 27 July); the article was spotted by one J.G. Case, editor at The Macmillan Company, who wrote White asking whether he would be interested in reviving the book. The original proposition was simply to use White's essay as an introduction, but the project expanded and White ended up revising (for the college market and the general trade) the text as well. At this time, the book was unheard of outside the academic world.
Thus was born The Elements of Style, with Revisions, an Introduction, and a New Chapter on Writing by E.B. White (1959). A scan through White's letters (I used Letters of E.B. White, edited by Dorothy Lobrano Guth, (C) 1976) reveals that J.G. Case, the Macmillan editor, had commissioned three or four grammarians well versed in the textbook field to submit suggestions to White, who, distressed, retorted, "[i]f the White-Strunk opus has any virtue, any hope of circulation, it lies in our keeping its edges sharp and clear, not in rounding them off cleverly. . . .Any attempt to tamper with this prickly design will get nobody nowhere fast" (Letter to J.G. Case, 17 Dec. 1958).
The Elements of Style, as the Chicago Manual of Style says, is a pithy "classic that offers excellent practical advice on achieving a clear and graceful expository style." It is now in its fourth edition, sans White, who died 1 Oct. 1985, and published with a gray cover in both hardcover and paperback, by Allyn and Bacon (who also published a third edition and has apparently superceded Macmillan as the de facto publisher. For this "modestly updated" publication, Roger Angell, E.B. White's stepson and also a New Yorker staff writer, wrote the foreword; Charles Osgood, who also made a V.H.S. called The Elements of Style Video, wrote the afterward; and a fellow named Robert DiYanni prepared a glossary.
"Style," White tells us in a magnificent passage of his own, "takes its final shape more from attitudes of mind than from principles of composition, for as an elderly practitioner once remarked, 'Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.' This moral observation would have no place in a rulebook were it not that style is the writer, and therefore what a man is, rather than what he knows, will at last determine his style." No writer (and we are all writers of one sort or another, remember) who is still willing to learn, who wants to grow in clarity, precision and grace, can let it go at that, though. There is much to be learned in this book. There are forgotten lessons to be remembered. They may be cast aside for good reasons - but always with an element of peril.

Connections: New Ways of Working in the Networked Organization
Connections: New Ways of Working in the Networked Organization
von Lee Sproull
Preis: EUR 23,13

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Technologically interesting, 6. Mai 2000
This book is based on extensive studies of the effects of computer-based communication technology - e-mail, distribution lists, bulletin boards, and computer conferences - through field research as well as social and psychological experiments. Sproull and Kiesler, both I believe trained as experimental social psychologists, believe that computer-based communication is radically changing the ways people interact with one another, much like nineteenth century communications technologies as the telephone, typewriter, and railroad transformed social and business lifestyles. With new computer-based communications, the authors argue, organizations are becoming more flexible and fluid, people increasingly think of themselves as part of the larger organization as opposed to mere members of a single department, and managers are working more democratically with employees.
The early work of this book was basic research on groups, especially on the topics of group dynamics, communication, and decision making. When Reagan was elected president, Kiesler had just come to C.M.U. and the N.S.F. held up her grant on standards setting groups. So, for fun, she began to explore computer networks, the experiments of which "revealed many interesting phenomena, which we eventually wrote about in books and articles--on flaming, electronic group dynamics, changes in decision making and employee participation, and new kinds of teamwork." Connections: New Ways of Working in the Networked Organization, summarizes that research.

On Literary Biography
On Literary Biography
von John Updike
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 99,41

2.0 von 5 Sternen A limited printing; a bit prosaic; not the classic Updike, 2. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: On Literary Biography (Gebundene Ausgabe)
You should first know that only 500 copies of this slim volume were printed. The book is handsomely bound by a dark blue, velvet cover, and is, at least, aesthetically appealing. The text, however - a speech, with a few changes for the publication by the author - is something different. As a high school student, I found it a bit prosaic - much different from Updike's usual novels or essays in the New Yorker. He is loath to not quote himself, and is redundant, hammering home his ambivalent point throughout. In the end, "On Literary Biography" is diappointing - not the classic Updike; for that, try his Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels: Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit at Rest.

How To Read and Why
How To Read and Why

5.0 von 5 Sternen Become a more purposeful reader, 2. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: How To Read and Why (Gebundene Ausgabe)
As Mel Grussow says in his review of Harold Bloom's last study, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, "[a]s always, Bloom emphasizes the text." Indeed, Bloom, the literary critic famous for his prodigious intellectual energy and certainly the most gifted contemporary of that dying breed, has been emphasizing the text - the classic plays and free characters of themselves that he understands profoundly - for the last thirty-four years at Yale University's path breaking English Department. "How to Read and Why," a change of pace, continues this prolific course forcibly and perspicuously.
Bloom, in his most famous polemic, The Western Canon (1994), points out that the reading of literature always comes down to a matter of choice - that it is in fact impossible for anyone, especially anyone who has a life outside of reading literature, to read in one lifetime all the works generally considered canonical; those who value great literature should at least make a sustained effort to read of the canon what we reasonably can, to saturate ourselves in that acme's rich deposits of art.
Though it is hard to agree with Bloom on all his points, the one I find most sound is Bloom's warning against imposing upon fiction the "burden of improving society," i.e., that we should not read to "expiate social guilt or reform bad institutions," composing doggerel centered around what Bloom terms the "School of Resentment," political correctness. As always, upon finishing one of Bloom's book and thus compelled to revisit a broached text (I foremost desired Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"), we find that Bloom, grand old bard, has been right all along.

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