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New York. 1982. Oxford University Press. 1st Printing. Some Underlining, Otherwise Very Good In Slightly Worn Dustjacket. 294 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Leonard Levitsky. Illustration by Jim Aplin. 0195031024. keywords: Literature Essays America. inventory # 6065. FROM THE PUBLISHER-Paul Fussell has been acclaimed as ‘one of the most creative literary critics of our time' (Eliot Janeway). His book, The Boy Scout Handbook and Other Observations, is, like his National Book Award-winning Great War and Modern Memory and Abroad, an amalgam of literary, cultural, social, ethical and political commentary, enhanced by a rich ironic wit. His topics here range from the virtues espoused in The Boy Scout Handbook (‘From its explicit ethics you can infer such propositions as ‘A scout does not tap his acquaintances' telephones, ' or ‘A scout does not bomb and invade a neutral country, and then lie about it') to a wry analysis of class distinction in America (he calls it our ‘dirty little secret'), from a fantasy of the ideal European town in which to recuperate, to a moving piece entitled ‘My war, ' in which Fussell depicts his own harrowing experiences of combat in France. What do these varied pieces have in common? What attracts Fussel to subjects as diverse as travel and war and literary critic ism? The answer, he maintains, is that his experience in the infantry was the formative experience of his life, imbuing him with a deep sense of irony. a lifelong attraction for ‘abroad, ' and a predilection for Pope and Swift.
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