mamm— THE DEFINITIVE KING
Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference David J. (iarrow ((‘ape £9.95) ‘l just happened to be here‘ said King of his involvement in the American civil rights movement. a sentiment which David (iarrow largely shares. His
; examination ofKingiswithin aset context. frorn the euphoria ofthe 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott to the internecine disarray of the 1968 Poor People‘s Campaign.
(iarrow’s highly reportive style provides a wealth of information for those with a scholarly interest in the subject. on a level which is historical rather than personal. The result is an impressive academic analysis of a \ ery significant era. although the minutiae of direct quotation occasionally impede the narrative.
Apart from this. ‘Bcaring the (toss is a deserving winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Garrow takes an honest and balanced look at the myth of Martin Luther King and offers insights on all the major black leaders of the time. It is especially interesting. in the wake of all the American campaign rhetoric. to learn just how unpopular Jesse
Johanna Schopenhaueris remembered, if she is remembered at all, as the mother of pessimistic Artur who, though not a nice man, was at least kind to animals, particularly his pet poodle Atma, known to philosophers as ‘world soul’. Nowhere in Ruth Michaelis-Jena and Willy Merson's edition of her journeys in England or Scotland is it suggested that shetravelledtosteerclearoiher sour-tempered son but it would not be surprising if she had. ButJohanna Schopenhauer does not strike one as a shrinking violet and the picture oi her that emerges from this morsel of her extensive diaries is of an independent, clear-thinking, energetic 19th century
' woman, inquisitive, insightful and perceptive. She was not a typical female traveller ofthe time, says Ruth Michaelis-Jena. For a start, she did not get up and go armed with a fistiul of introductions which would help iron out a bumpy ride. Norwas she predominantly interested in things ubiquitouslyfeminine-country houses, society matters and mores, theatres and public buildings—though she does not pass them by without
ackson was within the SCLC.
Published exactly twenty years after King’s assassination. this is likely to be quoted as the definitive biography for decades to come. (Ursula Brown)
A FANTASTIC CENTURY
Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels David Pringle (Grafton £14.95) David Pringle is the editor of the fiction magazine ‘lnterzone'. This. his third book on speculative fiction. summarises one hundred post-war novels chosen on the basis that they reveal the best in fantasy writing.
The selection is obviously subjective. but Pringle explains and justifies his choices in the concise and informative introduction which follows Brian Aldiss‘s foreword. He treats every title with factual objectivity but doesn‘t attempt to disguise his preferences when he has a valid point to tnake.
‘Modern Fantasy" makes interesting reading whether you are a fan of such fiction or not. Pringle writes with an infectious love of his subject but avoids the degeneration into mindless fandorn which is so prevalent among many devotees of the genre. He restricts himselfto two pages per title. so the book can be easily dipped into and digested by
passing comment. he speaks her mind and herjudgement is often withering. Nor is she a respecter of rank. Writing oi St James‘s Palace she pronounces: ‘there can be no prince, not even the ruler oi the smallest state scarcely visible on the map, who has a less impressive residence than the King of England.‘ Eat your heart out Pow. Her real enthusiasm, however, was for coal-mines, armaments factories, mints and steel foundries and she rhapsodised over Whitbread’s Brewery— ‘But to be serious, this
‘ IN PRINT
the merely curious and the hard—core enthusiast alike.
The range of authors covered is another point in the book‘s favour. Besides the obvious choices like Tolkien. Peake and Moorcock. Pringle also includes works by William Burroughs and Kingsley Amis among others. These are authors whom most people might not expect to find in a book dealing with a style ofwriting commonly imagined to be populated exclusively by superannuath wizards. sword-wielding body-builders and crusty dwarves. (Charles Holmes)
Collected Poems Primo Levi (Faber £4.95) An Italian Jew. a partisan. manager ofa chemical factory. and someone who has already written of his experience as a concentration camp survivor. Levi is now revealed as a poet ofstature. Some poems are ofthe kind that demand to be written. certainly those that carry messages ofconcentration camp life. ‘Shema‘ is a particularly intense and affecting example: ‘Consider whether this is a man/ Who labours in the mud/ Who fights no peace/ Who fights for a crust of bread.’ Who dies at a yes or no.‘
The poems title is the first word of a Hebrew prayer in which the unity of God is affirmed. so the translator's notes inform us. But what emerges in this and similar verses is Levi‘s sense ofoutrage. However. not all the poems are sombre. The collection contains humour. love. and pointed commentary on life today. There are also verses on the struggles of creation to which all writers will respond. (Ken Morrice)
brewery really is one of London’s most important sights.’ Scotland impressed her too, says Ruth Michaelis-Jena, herself born, like Johanna, in Germany. Her visit was brief but she packed a lot in and her observations were acute and she catches colouriully the Ossianic spirit of the times. She soiourned in Glasgow and Edinburgh and her reaction to both was ambivalent. Edinburgh, she wrote, ‘is of considerable size and seems at one and the same time to be a most beautiful and a most ugly place, It might be compared, in that way, to Marseilles.’ So much for the Athens oi the North. ‘Glasgow’, she wrote, ‘is certainly more lively than Edinburgh and is the centre of much industry and business. However. . . nobody could tell us about any building or object of note which, to a non-commercial mind, would be worthy of closer investigation. So, in the true sense of the word, we rested for the few days we spent there.’ Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, as they say in Europe. (Alan Taylor)
A Lady Travels: The Diaries of Johanna Schopenhauer edited by Ruth Michaells-Jena and Willy Merson (Routledge £19.95).
‘ ‘t V.
Behind the Waterfall Georgina Andrews (Pandora £12.95) Jo. arriving in Kenya to work on a village water project. is determined to fit in and to break the old ‘missionary' stereotype. But her illusion that ‘all Africans are bloody wonderful' is shattered when her home is burgled and she is raped. The book explores the reactions to the rape ofJo herself: of her English boyfriend and African lover: ofthe police and the authorities. The issues raised make for a complex novel. but one which Georgina Andrews doesn‘t yet seem able to handle. She writes well about Africa — heat. smells. food are all wonderfully evoked — but the dialogue is often thin and the plot disconnected (which could have been improved by more astute editing). Andrews has obvious skills as a novelist. which bode well for the next book. but Behind the Waterfall is very much a raw first attempt. (Elizabeth Burns)
William McGonagall Meets George Gershwin Spike Milligan and Jack Hobbs (Michael Joseph £10.95) Spike Milligan. the well-known typing error. turns to the subject of his favourite Scottish poet for the third time and has him meet George Gershwin. The result is 185 pages and 322 words longer than when Peter Sellers sang him in 1959 but 29 years is a short time in politics. This is vintage stream-of-consciousness lunacy fit for a Marx Brothers script and lacks only an essential health warning. Do not give it to anyone recovering from major surgery: they‘ll burst their stitches and die laughing. (Sally MacPherson)
I Republican Party Reptile P.J. O‘Rourke (Picador £3.50) The said reptile indulges his inclination to tear apart hypocrisy and posturing with the sharp edge of his supposedly right-wing wit. End result is sometimes funny. sometimes feeble essays and journal pieces.
I Holidays In Hell P.J. O'Rourke (Picador £3.95) More of the same. this time on ‘fun‘ trips to the Lebanon. Seoul. the Philippines. El Salvador and other hot trouble spots. Serious intent breaks through sardonic drollery.
I EM. Forster: A Life P.N. Furbank (Cardinal £1.99) Full account of Forster‘s travels and travails. his hushed-up homosexuality and his complex relationships. Thorough and fascinating.
I Rimbaud: Complete Works (Picador Classics £5.95) Poems. prose. letters and his police statement about his violent quarrel with Verlaine. Surprisingly short volume parallels his equally short life.
I Duke Ellington: The Life and Times of the Restless Genius of Jazz James Lincoln Collier (Pan £5.99) Biographical tittle-tattle portraying Ellington as private, generous. intellectually inept, racially proud and more, but in the main giving an opinionated practical criticism of his work.
60 The List 23 Dec 1988—12Jan 1989