Wednesday, February 1, 2017

100 Year Old Best Sellers

As mentioned in an earlier post, I've begun reading the best selling novels from 1917. The first on the list is Mr. Britling Sees It Through., by H. G. Wells. The novel begins just before the start of World War I and tells of the experiences of a writer and his family and acquaintances during the war. It's a thought provoking  novel and it's being on the best seller list of 1917 is perfectly understandable.

At the end of the book, Wells uses a letter written by Britling to the parents of a German friend to voice his views on how the world should evolve after the war. Unfortunately, Wells was not able to visit the future as a character from another of his novels was able to do, and Wells' idea for a one world government haven't panned out quite the way he would have wanted.

Like a good many following the Great War, many felt that the League of Nations would make certain that it would be the War to End All Wars. Hindsight is 20/20, and we can see now that the treatment of Germany following their loss in the Great War help bring about the Second World War.

The second novel on the list of best sellers of 1917 is The Light in the Clearing by Irving Bacheller. . As I write this, I am 31% into the e-book (downloaded from Project Gutenberg. I tend to agree with the review (linked to above).

"The Light In The Clearing is a book that is worth a read, but not so much for pleasure as for studies of history. For history it is a fantastic fictional source but for pleasure the dampening of themes and 180 degree changes are too irregular to invite particular acclaim. It’s a good book, but its purpose has been served better elsewhere".

The reviewer also writes that the book "has not stood the test of time as well as it could have, and that is a shame". That said, I will do my best to finish the book. The reviewer says the "last few chapters are excellent, but it’s difficult to get that far". I'm going to try.

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