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Cecil D. Eby (1927–2015)

Autor(a) de The siege of the Alcazar

9 Works 117 Membros 4 Reviews

About the Author

Cecil D. Eby is a retired Professor of English at the University of Michigan.

Obras de Cecil D. Eby


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Professor of English, University of Michigan (retired)



Eby's book charts English popular culture about war from The Battle of Dorking to the Great War: in invasion fiction, in H. G. Wells, in the Boy Scouts, in public schools, in sports (especially cricket), on the stage, in Rudyard Kipling, in Arthur Conan Doyle, and in material published during the Great War itself. It's one of those books that sort of lives or dies on your own interests, I think-- so I was really interested in Eby's accounts of invasion fiction and of Boy Scouts, less interested in what he had to say about public schools and sports, though it was still interesting enough to obtain some insight into the turn-of-the-century conception of manhood. The discussion of invasion fiction was nicely congruent with Gannon's Rumors of War, which I read around the same time. Gannon spends more time on invasion fiction, while Eby only spends one chapter on it-- but the myriad other chapters give it more of a cultural context than Gannon does, so the books go together nicely.

I did quite like Eby's stats: he reveals that between 1871 and 1914, there were 60-plus invasion narratives published in book or pamphlet form (so that's not counting ones published in periodicals). Germany was the aggressor in 41 of them, France 18 times, Russia 8 times, and then China, Japan, the U.S., and Mars all had one or so goes. No wonder Britain was so pumped for World War I when it finally happened! I was a little disappointed that it seemed like Eby hadn't read George Griffith-- some of his statements about the genre seemed to come from someone who hadn't read Angel of the Revolution (1893), which I would argue is the apex of the invasion genre, and as important a precursor to science fiction as H. G. Wells's work.

As a former Boy Scout (is one always a Boy Scout?) I found the chapter on the early days of Scouting fascinating: Baden-Powell was a magnificently reprehensible bastard. We've heard the stories of World War I going on pause and the combatants playing sports, but when the Boers asked Baden-Powell for a Sunday reprieve to play cricked, Baden-Powell turned them down because the English were winning the only war that mattered, the battle itself. For Baden-Powell, the Boer War was a jolly caper and a place for him to commit atrocities, and he went back to England to transform its weakling city boys into something more like Boer boys he had seen in South Africa, training his young Boy Scouts to defend their home country at all costs. Empire was the only important game.
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Stevil2001 | Jan 13, 2017 |
This seems to be a really good overview of the American experience in the Spanish Civil War, without the propaganda and bias of prior descriptions by people on the right and the left. While I wish it contained more maps and photos, this was a very compelling read.
tnilsson | Jan 4, 2016 |
While I'm not familiar with Eby's earlier book on Americans in the International Brigades I'll admit that I came away very impressed with this study, as the author tries to reconstruct the experiences of these men by cutting through Party propaganda obscuring the personal side of that history. Perhaps the single biggest liability facing the soldiers in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion was the lack of leaders with serious military experience and who might have been able to transcend the chasm between the real working men on one hand and the intellectuals driven by a will to power on the other. Never mind the ramifications of the military dilettantism and ideological sectarianism of the hierarchy of the Comintern high command. As for what the Americans were really fighting for, it's hard to avoid the sense that they were mostly fighting for their own self-respect, and that Spain was merely the arena where this drama of personal dignity was being played out. Certainly there didn't seem to be a lot of interest in the Spanish for their own sake; not unlike most American wars of the last century or so.… (mais)
Shrike58 | 1 outra resenha | Nov 19, 2014 |
The most informative and up-to-date history of the Americans who served on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War.
BLyda97112 | 1 outra resenha | Jan 1, 2011 |


½ 3.7

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