385 Chapters
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9781847772114

Map: The Western Front, 1916–18

Blunden, Edmund Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF
Medium 9780253018632

Blood and Ink

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

Jonathan M. Katz

I DONT REMEMBER if I asked for a history book, or if one was offered, but within days of moving to Haiti, a crimson brick of 902 pages had moved in beside my new bed in Pétionville.

The worn copy belonged to Scott Wilson, a Washington Post correspondent who, judging from the crevices along the book’s spine, had cracked it often on his sorties during the last coup. Wilson had left it with his former “fixer”—local driver, translator, informer, and guide—Evens Sanon. Evens, now plying his trade full-time for the Associated Press (AP), loaned it to me. The book had clearly been a longtime boon for my new fixer as well. One of Evens’ key jobs was to quickly ready neophytes to write about the country for an estimated audience of one billion. (In my case, he had about a week.) And while Evens’ navigation skills through the present were second-to-none, his historical bona fides were not as robust.

The text would thus need to do three things, for both of us: Offer an overview of Haiti’s history, be readable enough to keep my attention, and memorable enough to withstand the racket of quotidian noise that came along with the day job.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870825

Wilderness and Agriculture

Virgo, Seán Thistledown Press ePub


Jan Zwicky

WHEN THE WILDLIFE CONTROL OFFICER from the county came, he confirmed we had a problem. “They’ll take every tree within 200 yards either side.” He was eager to set the dynamite and watch the dams go up but, having grown up hunting north of the Sault, he didn’t like the part of his job that required him to kill beavers: “don’t shoot what you can’t eat.” But there was no point blowing the dams, he said, if you didn’t kill the beavers too — they’d just rebuild, usually overnight. He told me, trying to reassure me I think, that they weren’t particularly “nice” critters: he’d seen them use traps, with the bodies of their dead kin still inside, to repair dynamited dams. Thinking about it later that evening, I couldn’t decide if that made them sinners, or saints.

There was no question I could get the county to do the work. Our fords had been destroyed, the banks were being seriously destabilized, we were losing fences, and, arguably, the whole horse pasture might eventually be cut off — all of which meant your tax dollars could be spent on our farm, to control beavers in the name of “conservation”. And while it was nice to be invited to think of myself as a responsible eco-citizen making hard choices for the greater environmental good, it was pretty clear that accepting that invitation was just a way of simplifying and obscuring the real issues.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781847778772

Immediate Effects on the Mind and on Literature

Ford, Ford Madox Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

From ‘Stocktaking’; ‘I’, transatlantic review, 1:1 (January 1924), pp. 75–6.20

During the late war, for instance, the aggressive and Intellectual classes used to ask unceasingly what purpose was served in ‘trench’ warfare by jumping to it on parade at home. The effect is psychological […]

And the effect of imaginative culture on the natural mind engaged in human affairs is much that of drill on troops afterwards to be engaged in warfare. It affords and inspires confidence; it furnishes you with illustration in argument, knowledge of human nature, vicarious experience. It makes of the intelligent savage – a proper man!

From Great Trade Route, pp. 96–7.

Twenty odd years ago I was in a landscape of mud hills and old, empty food cans and cartridge-cases and old iron and rats and thistles and a corpse or two. It was disagreeable, and at times it grew to be worrying …. An intense worry that filled in all the world and the Huns and Army Headquarters. And when we were in support I used to get a horse and, on one pretext or another, ride for miles in search of a plot of ground that man had left undefiled. I would pretend to be looking for ferrets to destroy the rats with which our lines were infested; or straw for the transport; or better billets for our HQ who were always grumbling at their billets. If I had been able, as Divisional Billeting Officer, to have placed them in Leopold’s Palace of Laeken they would have grumbled that the famous collection of musical instruments contained no saxophone. For their jazz.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870849

Concrete Heavens

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub


Visionaries never see more directly than through the symbolism by which they are troubled.

— Phillip Rieff

IN HIS ANECDOTAL MEMOIR, CHARLES TEMPLETON — former evangelist, politician, journalist, and editor of Macleans — recounts an experience at Princeton Seminary, where he had enrolled in quest of a more liberal faith after severing his professional ties with Billy Graham.

One night I went to the golf course rather late. I had attended a movie and something in the film had set to vibrating an obscure chord in my consciousness. Standing with my face to the heavens, tears streaming, I heard a dog bark off in the distance and, from somewhere, faintly, eerily, a baby crying. Suddenly I was caught up in a transport. It seemed that the whole of creation — trees, flowers, clouds, the skies, the very heavens, all of time and space and God Himself — was weeping. I knew somehow that they were weeping for mankind: for our obduracy, our hatreds, our ten thousand cruelties, our love of war and violence. And at the heart of this eternal sorrow I saw the shadow of a cross, with the silhouetted figure on it … weeping.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574416367

The Favor: Los Angeles Times / By Christopher Goffard

Gayle Reaves, Editor UNT Press PDF

The Favor

Los Angeles Times

A Two-Part Series, December 21, 23, 2014

By Christopher Goffard

Would Power Trump Justice?

* A stabbing on a college campus leaves a student dead. One of the accused is the son of a former

Assembly speaker. The victim’s family hopes that won't matter.

First of two parts

A young man’s grave sits on a cemetery hill. To reach it, his parents drive through serene, graciously shaded neighborhoods where they see him still. As a toddler, throwing bread to the ducks. As a sixth-grader, on a razor scooter. As a lanky teenager with a cocky sideways smile.

Fred Santos, the father, steers his Toyota Prius into Oakmont Memorial

Park in the Bay Area suburb of Lafayette and follows the road to the


Best American Newspaper Narratives, Vol. 3

summit. He parks amid the pines and oaks. He carries sunflowers as he and his wife, Kathy, walk to the spot.


June 27, 1986—October 4, 2008

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870702

Spring: Godfingering

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub


See All Chapters
Medium 9781927068304

The Why and the Wherefore

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub


Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the forest . . . and thought about things.Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, “Why?” and sometimes he thought, “Wherefore?” and sometimes he thought, “Inasmuch as which?” — and sometimes he didn’t quite know what he was thinking about. — A. A. Milne

Cindy is an eighteen-year-old student of Larraine’s who is inclined to deal with everything in her world by one comprehensive explanation: “That’s why because.” Some people call her mentally disadvantaged. Larraine co-ordinates her educational program, and living with Larraine entitles me to a debriefing at the end of every working day where she needs to tell, and I need to hear, stories about annoyingly innocent people.

“I’m going home on the bus today, that’s why because,” Cindy says.

“I got new shoes yesterday, that’s why because.”

Things are as they are, because they are.

She is closer to the truth, probably, than we are. For explanation lies on us like a disease in which we forfeit our sense of wonder — the curiosity that drives the best kinds of science, and the humility which is close kin to worship. “How marvellous this is!” said an old Zen saint; “I chop wood, I draw water.” One day when my daughter Sheri was five, colouring a picture, she said, “No wonder you like green!” “Why is that?” I asked, and she said, “Because it has such a nice colour.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253019059

Writers & Artists

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Portrait of a WPA painter: Ernie meets a young Indiana giant at
Provincetown who finds life luxurious at $17.40 per week

PROVINCETOWN, Mass.—When I said to a friend up here that I’d like to pick out one artist and write about him as representative of the Provincetown art colony, my friend said:

“Well, we have two kinds here, you know. The ones who let their hair grow and never take a bath and do all the tricks. And then we have the serious kind.

“Everybody writes about the freaks. Why don’t you write about George Yater? He’s serious, and he’s one of the most up-and-coming of the younger group.”

So we went over to see George Yater. And what do you suppose he turned out to be? Just another boy from Indiana. I’ll bet if you invented a rocket and went to Mars, you’d find some small-town Hoosier sitting there.

George is 27.1 He has lived here for six years. He’s 6 feet 4 inches tall, weighs 225 pounds, and looks exactly like the hefty farm boys who go out in the fall and do or die for dear old Purdue. Except George never has.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253019028

An Unexpected Gift

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

an excerpt from a forthcoming novel

AJAKA CHEWED THE last of his bitter kola and gazed forlornly out of the barricaded window of his Ikot-Ekepene Road flat into the busy city streets. Was today the day they would find the missing child?

It was the will of the Alusi, the old gods, that the fortunetellers fail. It was their way of reminding the rainmakers that no one, not even a priest, could tell a god what to do.

It was the pronouncement of the local meteorologist on the beat-up FM radio he kept beside his bamboo-sleeping mat that, It will not rain today, like a blind priest trying to read the hand of God. The breeze from the harmattan wind had ashened his skin and cracked his lips that morning like it had the morning before, but Ajaka was not surprised to find streaks of grey lining the aging sky. He had lived in the Jungle City long enough to know that no one could accurately predict the passing of the rainy season. Not even the entreaties of the rainmakers from the villages and the local government areas could keep Kamalu’s double-headed axe from cracking the calabashes holding the waters of the sky in place; or Afo, the alusi of tornadoes and hurricanes and the goddess of the northern sky, from whirling her skirt and using the air it whipped up as a cutlass to cut open the sky whenever she willed it. It was the will of the Alusi, the old gods, that the fortunetellers fail. It was their way of reminding the rainmakers that no one, not even a priest, could tell a god what to do.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253000958

The Force of Spirit

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

My wife’s father is dying, and I can think of little else, because I love him and I love my wife. Once or twice a week, Ruth and I drive the forty miles of winding roads to visit him in the nursing home. Along the way we pass fields bursting with new corn, stands of trees heavy with fresh leaves, pastures deep in grass. In that long grass the lambs and calves and colts hunt for tender shoots to nibble and for the wet nipples of their mothers to suck. The meadows are thick with flowers, and butterflies waft over the blossoms like petals torn loose by wind. The spring this year was lavish, free of late frosts, well soaked with rain, and now in early June the Indiana countryside is all juiced up.

On our trip to the nursing home this morning, I drive while Ruth sits beside me knitting. Strand by strand, a sweater grows under her hands. We don’t talk much, because she must keep count of her stitches. To shape the silence, we play a tape of Mozart’s Requiem from a recent concert in which Ruth sang, and I try to detect her clear soprano in the weave of voices. The car fills with the music of sorrow. The sound rouses aches in me from earlier losses, the way cold rouses pain from old bone breaks.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781847778772

An Englishman Looks at the World

Ford, Ford Madox Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

From the second of Ford’s two propaganda books, Between St Denis and St George: A Sketch of Three Civilisations (Hodder and Stoughton, 1915), Part II, chapters 1 and 2. Ford’s heading echoes H.G. Wells’s 1914 book of the same title.

Let us attempt to recapture, in as precise a phraseology as we may, what was the British psychology immediately prior to the outbreak of the present war, and what was the state of affairs in England then. So remote does that period seem that the task is one of some difficulty, and the field is singularly open to those who are anxious to prove that Great Britain at that date was a militarist menace to the rest of Europe. So absolutely are our minds now fixed upon the affairs of the present, so bellicose in consequence has every proper man become, that, if Mr Bernard Shaw or Herr Dernburg choose to assert that before July 1914 every Englishman was a raging fire-eater, there are few of us with our minds sufficiently concentrated upon the immediate past to be able to question, much less to confute, those generalisations. And that is partly a matter of shame. Because the necessities of the day are so essentially martial we are ashamed to think that we were ever pacifist; because Germany – the German peoples as well as the Prussian State – have now put into practice precepts which they have been enjoining for the last century and a decade, I am ashamed to think that less than a year ago I had, for the German peoples, if not for the Prussian State, a considerable affection and some esteem. By a coincidence, then, which I must regard as the most curious of my life – though, indeed, in these kaleidoscopic days something similar may well have been the fate of many inhabitants of these islands – in the middle of July, 1914, I was in Berwickshire engaged in nothing less than tentative machinations against the seat in Parliament of – Sir Edward Grey! In the retrospect this may well appear to have been a fantastic occupation, but how fantastic do not all our occupations of those days now appear! On the morning of July 20th, 1914, I stood upon the platform of Berwick-on-Tweed station reading the London papers. The London papers were exceedingly excited, and I cannot say that I myself was other than pessimistic – as to the imbecility of human nature, and, more particularly, as to the imbecility of the Liberal Party, and, more particularly again, as to that of the editors of the — and the —, which are Liberal party organs. These organs at that date were, in veiled language, calling for the abdication of the King of England. That, again, sounds fantastic. But there it is; the files of the newspapers are there to testify to it.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781847778772

Trois Jours de Permission

Ford, Ford Madox Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

Ford wrote this brief article about his leave in Paris during September 1916 a few days later. It was published in the Nation, 19 (30 September 1916), pp. 817–18. A more elaborate account is in No Enemy, pp. 153–63 and 261–2. Both works also describe attending a performance of Delibes’ Lakmé: No Enemy, pp. 165–6 and 194–221. (There is also a brief variant in Return to Yesterday (London, 1931), pp. 151–2.) But the version here gives a vivid impression of the contrasts between military and civilian life. The ferrets are also mentioned in Joseph Conrad, p. 192, and Provence (London, 1938), p. 298.

‘Une petite minute! … a little minute’; the words, uttered by a functionary in evening dress with the features, and far more than the gravity of, a British statesman, consecrate one to a long period of waiting in the reverential and silent atmosphere of a palace of high rooms and tapestried panels. A long period of waiting …. Well, the longest period of waiting that I have known in a life that nowadays is characterized by more waiting than I have ever known. Waiting for the transport; waiting for the bombs to come up; waiting for one’s unit to move; waiting for one’s orders; waiting for the shelling to stop; and, above all, waiting for the shell – the solitary whining shell, the last of three that is due from the methodical German battery miles away on the plain – waiting for that to manifest itself in a black cloud, up there; in an echoing crash, and in a patter, as of raindrops …. Yes, one learns to wait. The most impatient temperament, somewhere in France, will be strait-waistcoated into inaction, into introspection.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253356864

5. Books

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

There are probably words addressed to our condition exactly, which, if we could really hear and understand, would be more salutary than the morning or spring to our lives, and possibly put a new aspect on the face of things for us. How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book. (76)

For Thoreau, the book that marked “a new era in his life” was Emerson’s Nature, published in the fall of 1836 and checked out of the Harvard library by Thoreau the following spring. He was ready for it: having been examined by Emerson on rhetoric in 1835, he had by 1837 won the older man’s support for some of Harvard’s prize money. More importantly, Emerson’s “manifesto of transcendentalism” suited Thoreau’s interest in reconciling his own avidity for nature with an emerging intellectual ambition. In Walden’s terms, Thoreau was “a prepared field.”

Although he writes dismissively of his own college education, Walden’s enormous number of allusions suggests just how bookish Thoreau was. In fact, as Richardson details, he read omnivorously, working fluently in the major European languages, as well as Latin and Greek. But his choice of reading seems strange, perhaps offering a clue to this mysterious man and his mysterious book. Thoreau, of course, was steeped in the classics, having a special fondness for Homer, but as he grew older, his taste became less and less literary: Goethe and Carlyle, yes, but mostly things like books on Eastern religions, tracts on Canadian history and Indian life, Cato’s treatise on farming, natural history (especially botany), travel books (a guilty pleasure), William Gilpin on landscape painting, the Jesuit Relations (forty-one accounts of the Jesuit missions to Canada’s Indians), Darwin. Thoreau showed no interest in fiction: although he knew Robinson Crusoe, he apparently never read any of his friend Hawthorne’s novels. When we remember that Thoreau was born in 1817, four years after Pride and Prejudice, the following list of books he appears never to have looked at seems suggestive:

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253018632

Benga Benga

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

A review of Binyavanga Wainana’s One Day I Will Write About this Place (2011)

Kangsen Feka Wakai

THE STORY OF early twenty-first century writing, at least in the African world, would be incomplete without the mention of the story of how an essay, originally intended for an audience oceans away, went viral, graced message boards—from Brooklyn to Accra, and in the process almost metamorphosed into spam mail in email boxes around the globe. The narrative of writing in the first decade of the new century would also be insufficient without the mention of Binyavanga Wainaina, the essay’s author.

Wainaina first gained notoriety in July 2002, after winning the Caine Prize for his short story, Discovering Home (2001) published by a little known online platform, G21Net. The Caine Prize for African Writing, named in memory of the long serving Chairman of the Booker Prize Management Committee, the late Sir Michael Caine, is one of contemporary literature’s most coveted honors. Past winners include Nigerian Helon Habila (2001) and Afropolitan Olufemi Terry (2010). But it was in winter 2005, after the release of Granta 92 (The View from Africa) that carried his now classic essay, which marked the transformation of Wainaina from laureate to the exclusive ranks of African literary celebrities. The social media site Facebook was just about a year old.

See All Chapters

Load more