J. M. Cameron

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 175

Mr. Caute's book [Communism and the French Intellectuals: 1914–1960] is indispensable for the student of our time. It is also, unfortunately, very badly written; indeed, it may possibly be the worst-written book ever produced by a Fellow of All Souls. The following passage sufficiently illustrates the vices of Mr. Caute's style:

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"European Communism was born out of the ashes of past revolutionary movements, socialist, anarchist and syndicalist, movements whose harsh threats and brave promises had been drowned and mocked by the disciplined tramp of marching boots. Under the impact of war, theories and dogmas, once so vehemently defended, lost their luster and wilted, before springing to life again with an intensified dynamism."

There is really no excuse for this fustian stuff. Mr. Caute has written a good and useful book. With a bit of attention to the English language he might have written a classic. (p. 260)

J. M. Cameron, "The Intellectuals—a Caste or a Vague Description?" in Commonweal (copyright © 1965 Commonweal Publishing Co., Inc.; reprinted by permission of Commonweal Foundation), Vol. LXXXII, No. 8, May 14, 1965, pp. 257-60.

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