A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
Studying history allows us to learn from past mistakes so that we don’t repeat them in the future, yet sadly, as the old saw goes, we see history repeat (or rhyme with) itself every day. Take isolationism, for instance. Both before and after the Great War, Americans wanted nothing to do with the rest of the world. After many decades of American stature following World War II, Americans are leaning toward isolationism again.
Peck’s book causes the reader to contemplate the Great War within the context of America only. Why did the U.S. stay out for so long? Why didn’t the U.S. have an adequate military force? Why didn’t the U.S. want to join the League of Nations following the war? Why were so many Americans disillusioned once the Armistice had been signed? Why was President Woodrow Wilson beloved by many yet only gained stature for his wisdom long after he had died? Peck explores all these questions and more and to a satisfying end. For him, history isn’t just facts and figures and chronology. It’s about relationships between individuals and relationships between nations, and he discusses these at length.
I have only one beef with the book distributed by W. W. Norton, one of the most respected names in modern publishing. I came across (I was not looking for) at least nine typos: the kind which reflects hurried or no copyediting: words are repeated needlessly or subject/verb agreement is in error because the letter “s” has been left off the verb. In this day and age, following thirty-five years of computerized book printing, with its sophisticated technology, there is no excuse for finding this many errors in a published book for which the public is paying a cover price of just under thirty dollars. Just saying.