A quick look at recent releases.
Toward the end of his life, Ernest Hemingway told the Paris Review that he had rewritten the ending of "A Farewell to Arms" 39 times "to get the words right." Now you can decide for yourself whether he made the right choice. This special edition of his classic World War I novel, first published in 1929, contains several features that illuminate how Hemingway constructed his timeless tale of love and war. They include copies of early drafts, a foreword by his son Patrick and introduction by grandson Sean, as well as his own 1948 introduction.
The book has facsimiles of several handwritten pages from the Hemingway manuscript collection at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, including the book's arguably most famous passage crossed out, scribbled and rewritten: "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them ... ."
Best of all are 47 alternative endings arranged thematically -- the religious ending, the live-baby ending, the Fitzgerald ending, and so on -- and a list of 44 titles that Hemingway considered. Instead of "A Farewell to Arms," how does "If You Must Love" strike you? What about "Disorder and Early Sorrow"? "The World's Room"? Or better yet, "I have committed Fornication but that was In Another Country and Besides the Wench is Dead"? Once again, Papa proves that the fewer words, the better.
KEVIN DUCHSCHERE, staff writer
Such a dark time in Europe it was, rife with lawlessness, bloody ethnic cleansing, rape, torture, anti-Semitism, starvation and widespread despair. Yet, it's not World War II we're talking about here -- it was that war's aftermath, a largely neglected period of history that we Americans, prone to wistful mythmaking, like to imagine as a time of clean slates, humility, rebuilding and rebirth. British historian Keith Lowe explores the era in "Savage Continent," which chronicles the events, most of them bloody, that occurred across Europe near the end of the war and in the years just after it. Especially in Eastern Europe, the desire for vengeance against wartime tormentors led to countless atrocities (most of them inflicted on entirely innocent people), expulsions and stunning deprivation. Lowe is a stark, eloquent writer, and this meticulously researched book, with its many maps and grainy, heartbreaking photos, is a revelation. Best, but grimmest, of all, learning about the war's aftermath sheds great light on current conditions and rivalries in Europe, where old resentments and wounds often feed policy and attitudes. Yes, the continent rebounded, but the ground is still full of bones and blood. A dark book, this is, but also greatly illuminating.
PAMELA MILLER, Night-weekend metro editor