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By Edmund Wilson

The respected American author and journalist contemplates faith, warfare, Europe, Russia, the Jews, schooling, technology, intercourse, and being 60.

My more advantageous pdf of Gimley's experiment, now unmarried web page, b/w history, OCR'd, bookmarked, cropped borders.

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Sample text

In the early days of the war, this paper had been quite close to the White House and had supported the peace policy of Wilson. I was therefore rather taken aback when, after getting himself reelected on the basis of having "kept us out of war," he proceeded to lead us in, and was followed by this liberal weeklv, which insisted, however, as Wilson did, that the Am~rican objective was peace with justice and the world made safe for democracv. One of the editors of this magazine was supposed to have collaborated with \Vilson in framing the Fourteen Points.

She believed, I discovered, in a world entirely made up of many small nations, each speaking its own language-the more languages, apparently, the better. Uniformity was much to be dreaded-and, besides, if you had small countries, you would have, she thought, only small wars. Though she had lived several years in the United States, any other sort of political ideal was apparently unimaginable for her. Now, was it possible, I asked myself, for me, to imagine the state of mind that had gone to produce her ideal?

The American missionari~s of our way of life, the European dt:fenders of "the free world" and the Soviet installers of the "people's democracies" all found themselves united against Hitler, the three powers having in common-not surely their democratic institutions-but simply their common fear; and they were soon, as they began to defeat him, wrecking the German cities and raping the German women just as the Germans had done with their own, and spitting on the civilization they claimed to be fighting for by bombing-for no military advantage-the house of Goethe at Frankfort along with its other ancient monuments (while its industries were left almost untouched), and the theaters and galleries of Munich; and finally-a feat that the United States, with its formidable technical development, was wonderfully equipped to accomplish-wiping out a whole Japanese city with a man•ellous new kind of explosive.

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A Piece of My Mind: Reflections at Sixty by Edmund Wilson


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