Thursday, October 17, 2013

Author of Human Smoke Honored at Home


Nicholson Baker has been added to this list, I read this morning over coffee — Remarkable Rochesterians. The blurb:
    From his debut 1988 novel, The Mezzanine, he's earned critical praise for his ability to find significance, amusement and meaning in the small things that occupy a life. (One reviewer calls him a "genial obsessive.") Born in Rochester, he attended School Without Walls and the Eastman School of Music (for a year) before going on to Haverford College. Now living in Maine, he has turned out novels, some controversial, at a steady pace, leading up to his latest, the mysteriously named Traveling Sprinkler.
These I have not read. I did read — and will never forget — his incredible work of non-fiction, one of the best I have ever read, Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization, hailed by reviewers as what "may be the most compelling argument for peace ever assembled," as "one of the most important books you will ever read," as "a testament to the power of an outsider to a field to cause us to rethink conventional notions," as "a much stronger message of peace than mere argument could ever muster," and, finally and most importantly, as "an eloquent and passionate assault on the idea that the deliberate targeting of civilians can ever be justified."

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