Review by Kirkus Book Review
During his brief tenure as editor Of America's then most prestigious journal, the North American Review (1872 and 1874-75), Henry Adams contributed the 22 signed or attributed ""sketches"" (his appelation), almost all reprinted here for the first time. These so-called sketches are, in actuality, book reviews; although one is a critique of Tennyson's drama, Queen Mary, in which Adams compares Tennyson not unfavorably to Shakespeare but faults his choice of a heroine (""not a subject for high tragical interest""). Unsurprisingly, most of the reviews are of history books: Adams was already contemplating his monumental History of the United States and was teaching medieval history at Harvard. The bulk of the reviewed works are today of interest only to historians of historical writing or antiquarians. His reviews, however, reveal Adams' high standards of scholarship. He faults writers who prefer bias to accuracy and admires those who rely on long-neglected original documents and official records. He tends to respect the meticulousness of German historians over the English. In other reviews he recognizes the potential greatness of WilliamDean Howells, whose first novel, Their Wedding Journey, he allots high praise; and he enthuses over the wealth of information contained in the Statistical Atlas of the United States, in particular its detailed maps illustrating river systems, forest areas, rainfall, barometric conditions and coal deposits. Of interest to specialists in 19th-century American writers and to only the most ardent admirers of Adams' works. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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