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The New Men (1954)

de C.P. Snow

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293567,915 (3.4)14
It is the onset of World War II in the fifth in the Strangers and Brothersseries. A group of Cambridge scientists are working on atomic fission. But there are consequences for the men who are affected by it. Hiroshima also causes mixed personal reactions.
Adicionado recentemente porJonathan_Byrne, maranan, Bethel82, TomBurke, lgj0001, columbine75
Bibliotecas HistóricasSylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway
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Exibindo 5 de 5
This is the 6th novel in C.P. Snow's Strangers and Brothers series. Goodness how I have been enjoying these books, which I've been reading through at the rate of one or two per year. The series takes protagonist Lewis Eliot, and English society, from the mid-1920s through the mid-1960s. Eliot is a "self-made man" who has battled his from working class roots into the relatively high echelons of British government work, his early plans to become a high-powered attorney having been short circuited by his love and loyalty to a depressive wife who know will barely see him, so reclusive has she become. Now we are back in the years of World War 2, where we also spent much of The Light and the Dark. Eliot finds himself as, more or less, second in command to a cabinet minister whose portfolio lands Eliot in the midst of gathering funding and manpower for the British attempt to create an atom bomb. The ethics of creating such a weapon, Eliot's relationship with his younger brother, a scientist whom Eliot wishes to help "get on" in ways he himself had not been able to, the gathering of middle age and the interpersonal and power-related relationships of scientists, politicians, friends, brothers and lovers are all deftly handled. Snow was an acute observer of the human condition, a writer with a keen eye to human ego, frailty, desires and strengths. He has the grace not to descend into cynicism. In fact, Nicolas Tredell's study of Snow and his works is entitled C.P. Snow: The Dynamics of Hope. The writing is always low key, with the first person narrative infused with what we Americans, at any rate, would describe as a standard English diffidence. Within this, however, the language is alive with wit and the sort of tiny detail of speech and thought that makes characters really come alive, at least for me. Some might find this writing too slow, I suppose, but for me Snow's writing is entirely delightful. ( )
  rocketjk | Oct 23, 2020 |
This story is told by the protagonist, Tony Grams, whose father brought the family to America in 1899; Tony was only eight years old. As an adult, Tony was employed by Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan. In 1914, Ford introduced a Sociological Department which established rules of behavior for their employees. As encouragement, they dangled a $5 pay day rate to those employees who would allow themselves and their homes to be monitored by ‘investigators’. It enticed many as the $5 per day rate was more than double their normal pay rate at that time. As part of the Investigator’s duties, they’d check the cleanliness of the home; their children’s school attendance; and monitored their bank records. They taught English to migrants and even held a graduation of sorts in which the graduates appeared with their ‘old world’ clothing. After going into a simulation of an ‘American Melting Pot’, they’d reappear dressed in ‘American’ clothing – ‘new men.’ Tony became one of the Investigators.

The period of Tony’s story covers the time in America from 1914 to ca. 1920. The period covered the newness of automobiles and trolley cars; World War I and the Michigan ‘Polar Bear’ unit; racial bias against Jews and Blacks; Women’s Suffrage; prohibition; and the beginnings of the Roaring Twenties. I enjoyed how well the history was expressed. Jon Enfield, the author, said the following as part of his ‘Historical Note’.

“… although a great deal of The New Men is factually accurate (often painstakingly so) and intended to reflect accurately how people at the time thought and were able to think – and although I’m proud of that accuracy – I still didn’t hesitate to tweak, omit, or imagine details, events, and characters where doing so made the novel come to life.”

I was strongly pulled in at the beginning of this story as I have a keen interest in history, and this historic part of our nation was unknown to me. Though the subject matter is a great premise for a novel, the book does tend to slow a bit and transitions in scenes were not smoothly executed at times. I rated The New Men at 3 out of 5.

http://www.fictionzeal.com/new-men-making-men-made-america-jon-enfield/ ( )
  FictionZeal | Aug 31, 2014 |
Een verhaal over atoomgeleerden en de morele dilemma's waarmee ze geconfronteerd worden. ( )
  judikasp | Dec 28, 2011 |
Another re read. CP Snow is so very unfashionable these days, having been very much feted and celebrated at the time, that it is interesting to think why. He is one of very few serious writers who writes about the world of work and affairs - whose major focus is on the political rather than the personal. While the content of the political fades and ages (in this case the world of the atom bomb and nuclear treachery) the motivations and relationships are as real as they were then (the story of how Martin Eliot rises to the top of his research laboratory - and then refuses the prize is particularly fresh). Snow's writing is very limpid - a lack of imagery, a retiring first person single narrator, which sometimes lacks drive - perhaps at the time it was most appropriate for the sensation of the topic, but the novels perhaps suffer for it now...
1 vote otterley | Oct 25, 2009 |
1893 The New Men, by C. P. Snow (read 20 Dec 1984) This is the sixth volume in the series. It tells the story of men working in England on the atomic bomb, including Lewis Eliot's brother Martin. Much insight, much sensitive exploration of human feelings--all quite profound but not overly exciting or intriguing to a simplicist like me. Martin, on Aug 7, 1945, threatens to send a letter to the Times deploring Hiroshima. Isn't the reaction justified? But I never had it. I remember I was happy because I knew we'd win the war soon--back in those 1945 days when the war was the central event of our lives. ( )
  Schmerguls | Sep 6, 2008 |
Exibindo 5 de 5
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It is the onset of World War II in the fifth in the Strangers and Brothersseries. A group of Cambridge scientists are working on atomic fission. But there are consequences for the men who are affected by it. Hiroshima also causes mixed personal reactions.

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