Current Issue

WarThat Devil's Madness                  
spring 2014

Continuing a staple of editor-in-chief George Core’s tenure at the Sewanee Review, the spring 2014 issue is focused on the literature of war. At the top of the issue, Margot Demopoulos gets our blood pumping with “Hit-and-Run,” an action-packed story set in Crete during World War ii. The issue also contains a number of first-person accounts from the front lines: Christopher Thornton offers a dispatch from Lebanon about the effects of the ongoing war in Syria, as reflected in his conversations with refugees on the street and in cafés; Seymour I. Toll remembers the Battle of the Bulge; and Phillip Parotti tells a side-splitting tale from a naval mission in the Vietnam War. In a hybrid of art criticism, personal history, reportage, and essay, Pat C. Hoy II engages with war and its aftershocks—specifically the scars endured by veterans, their families, the families of soldiers killed in battle, and the country as a whole.

In Lebanon all explosions are not equal. Some reverberate to a greater extent than others, and their impact is determined by their effect on the country’s ever-fragile sectarian balance.

—Christopher Thornton, “Letter from Lebanon”

The issue contains what surely must be a record number of poets—sixteen in all—with verse on conflagrations from Troy to the present day
. (Look at our table of contents for the full list.) In essays complementary to the war poetry in this spring number, Mr. Bornstein contextualizes Yeats’s “September 1913” and A. Banerjee writes about the war poet Isaac Rosenberg. John M. McCardell, Jr.—vice Chancellor of the University of the South and scholar of the American Civil War—reflects on how America commemorates the bloodiest conflict in American history; Robert Lacy writes about the events surrounding the largest mass execution on American soil; Derek Cohen writes about Berlin in the shadow of Nazism; and Charles Carlton defends the study of military history.

So, if ever again asked if I am in favor of war, I will emphatically say that I am not. But for the same reasons I must confess with equal fervor that I greatly advocate its study.

—Charles Carlton, “Confessions of a Military Historian”

All the reviewers in this issue—Matthew Burkhalter (former Aiken Taylor intern at the SR), Phillip Parotti, Samuel R. Williamson, Jr., Sanford Pinsker, and George Core—consider books that touch on either World War I or II. Of these reviewers, George Core carries the heaviest load—in poundage, at least—considering the entirety of Rick Atkinson’s  Liberation Trilogy and Gordon Corrigan’s The Second World War: A Military History for a total of over three thousand pages reviewed (wow!).

For more details about the issue, take a look at the table of contents and the list of books reviewed. Also, read excerpts from essays in the issue by
John M. McCardell, Jr., Pat C. Hoy ii, and Christopher Thornton.

Spring had come early. We were young and brilliant;
The plot of our lives most likely held untold glories.
Our beauty would never end in a scuffle over bones.
On our adamantine towers suns would ever rise and set.

—Brian Culhane, “Alexander in New York, 1979”



Hit-and-Run, Margot Demopoulos


Trojan Commander, Stephen Malin

Return to Ithaca, Robert Cooperman

Scars of the War, John Rees Moore

Lessons from the Peloponnesian War, Michael Spence

Last Stand, Gardner McFall

Alexander in New York, 1979, Brian Culhane

Little Sister, Thomas Reiter

The Old Poet: Margaret Preston Remembers, Helen Pinkerton Trimpi

The Fields of Glory, Catherine Savage Brosman

Nuremberg, Stephen Gibson

Untouched Hearts, David Moolten

Traces of Life, Holly St. John Bergon

Wartime, Brooke Horvath

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu, R. L. Barth

Scenes of War, Michael Miller

Foreign Wars, Michael Cavanagh



Reading Yeats’s “September 1913,” George Bornstein

Dark Day on the Prairie, Robert Lacy

Berlin on my Mind: An Anti-Memoir, Derek Cohen

Warring With Words, Pat C. Hoy ii (read an excerpt)

Remembering the Battle of the Bulge, Seymour I. Toll

Letter from Lebanon, Christopher Thornton (read an excerpt)


The State of Letters

Reflections on the Civil War, John M. McCardell, Jr. (read an excerpt)

Confessions of a Military Historian, Charles Carlton

Isaac Rosenberg: The War Poet, A. Banerjee

Tom Heggen: A Fragment, Robert Lacy

Consorting with the Enemy, Philip Parotti


Arts and Letters

The Glorious Art of War, George Core

Hard Times, Phillip Parotti

Anne Frank and the “What If?” School of Fiction