Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not So Wild a Dream. Eric Sevareid.

New York: Atheneum. 1946 (1976).

Why read it? Autobiography. For those who heard and watched Eric Sevareid on TV or read him in his newspaper column, he expressed himself concisely and memorably. His words always left me thinking. He never wasted a word. One of his prominent traits was irony, a trait one finds in any description of war. This book helps people who are not familiar with Eric Sevareid to learn from him again. “His observations provide one more perspective on World War II in particular, and on the brutal reality of war, in general.”

Sample quotes:

Title is from the following quote by Norman Corwin: “Post proofs that brotherhood is not so wild a dream as those who profit by postponing it pretend.” ………. “Thought leads to actions but actions lead to thoughts.” p. x. ………. “…and in the ‘Negro revolution’ of America, a flight, not so much from poverty as from anonymity.” p. xvii.

“Ten thousand committees could never produce the Sistine ceiling.” p. xviii. ………. “Communism remains less impressive as a way of life than as a device for seizing power.” p. xviii. ……….

“Maturity cannot really pass on the lessons of its experience to youth; that is nature’s secret way of preserving the idealism of youth, as a source spring of human creativity through trial and error.” p. xviii.

“The one so labeled [‘honky,’ ‘hippie,’ ‘pig,’ etc.] may be reviled, tortured, killed or exiled because he is no longer a human being, but a symbol.” p. xviii. ………. “…but no other great power [America] has the confidence and stability to expose and face its own blunders.” xix. ………. “We have solved the composition of a lunar crater but we do not really grasp the…heart of the delinquent child.” p. xix.

“Man’s mind is the final, unlocked riddle.” xx. ………. “…the courage of …doubts in a world of dangerously passionate certainties.” xx. ………. “Careful always to seek for truth and not for our own emotional satisfaction….”

Comment: With those quotes from the introduction, I think you will know the kind of man that Eric Sevareid was. He experienced and he thought. And he expressed his thoughts in precise, sometimes unforgettable language. You will enjoy his autobiography. It contains some memorable ideas. RayS.

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