The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht, Edited with an introduction by Jonathan F. S. Post, Johns Hopkins UP '13, $35, 365 pages, ASIN #1421407302. Index, footnotes, b&w and color images sprinkled through text.
Surely one of the foremost American poets of the 20th century, Anthony Hecht won the Pulitzer Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award, and the Frost Medal, among others. Now, his widow Helen Hecht has compiled more than 4,000 letters, dating from the 1930s until 2004, the year of his death.
"The letters chronicle Hecht's time as a student at Bard College and Kenyon College," writes editor Jonathan Post, "his years as a soldier in World War II, his travels abroad in France and Italy, and his fame as a poet and critic. The letters not only form a substantial record of Hecht's military actions but also shed light on his initial meetings with W.H. Auden, his difficult first marriage, his subsequent relationship with Anne Sexton, and his gradual emergence as a poet of great accomplishment with the publication of The Hard Hours, which earned him the 1968 Pulitzer Prize.
Poet Anthony Hecht (1923--2004) was a critic as well as a poet. Editor Jonathan F.S. Post teaches English at the University of California at Los Angeles.
The Revenge of History -- The Battle for the 21st Century by Seumas Milne, Verso '12, $29.95, 298 pages, ASIN #1844679632. Index, notes, no bibliography or illustrations.
"Reading Seumas Milne," writes Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, "one often has a feeling of physical relief: finally someone not only sees the truth but articulates it with thrilling erudition and moral clarity. Tracking a decade of ruinous lies from the right and unheeded warnings from the left, this is a book with an urgent message: it's time to win more than arguments."
From the inside cover:
"In 2001, Tony Blair declared that those who opposed the war on terror had been 'proved wrong' -- along with critics of unfettered corporate power and free market capitalism.
"Ten years later, the critics have been comprehensively vindicated and the champions of the New World Order proved catastrophically wrong. The evidence on hand includes the disastrous occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and the failure of an economic model that has brought the Western World to its knees.....The neoliberal market, hailed as the only economic option, crashed with devastating consequences; calamitous western military interventions demonstrated the limits of US global power; the rise of China challenged both; while Latin America has embraced social and economic alternatives that were said no longer to exist."
Seumas Milne is a columnist and associate editor on the Guardian and the paper's former comment editor.
Death and Oil -- A True Story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea by Brad Matsen, Pantheon '11, $25.95, 203 pages, ASIN #0307378810. Index, bibliography, no notes, grouping of b&w images.
From the front inside cover:
"The first full account of the most tragic oil rig disaster in history, the human story behind it, and the true nature of its legacy.
"July 6, 1988 began as a normal day on Piper Alpha, the biggest offshore oil rig on the North Sea. But just after 10 p.m., a series of explosions rocked the platform, and the inferno continued to burn for weeks. Of the 226 men working on the platform, 162 died, along with two of their would-be rescuers. Brad Matsen talked to the survivors and their families; to the rescue teams, firefighters, and hospital workers; and to other witnesses. Now he brings together the full story of the human error and corporate malfeasance behind this tragedy.
"Here is a comprehensive account of the catastrophe, from the origins of the fires on the rig to the investigation into the causes of its demise to the pain it continues to cause the survivors and the families of the dead. Written with a novelist's sense of pace and eye for detail, it is a riveting, gut-wrenching saga, made even more timely and important in light of recent disasters."
Brad Matsen has written many books about the sea and its inhabitants, and he has written many articles in leading publications. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington.