By Edmund Wilson
The respected American author and journalist contemplates faith, struggle, Europe, Russia, the Jews, schooling, technological know-how, intercourse, and being 60.
My superior pdf of Gimley's test, now unmarried web page, b/w history, OCR'd, bookmarked, cropped borders.
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Extra resources for A Piece of My Mind: Reflections at Sixty
Once one of these melees was started-though thousands of miles away, in a continent we had left behind-we would watch it for a time with great interest, then be stirred by an overwhelming impulse to get into it and show our mettle. The middle-aged newspaper-reader sat at home with a certain complacency, looking on while the Germans and Russians were buzzing out at one another, un· aware that our high-flying American insects were itching to buzz out, too; that the Japanese insects were itching, and that these would soon give us a pretext for taking part in the general field day.
If the Soviets and the States are now powerful, and if Europe seems impotent, collapsed, as the result of suicidal wars, it is because we have this advantage. In Europe, they seem still to think only in old-fashioned terms of hegemony. Napoleon attempted this but overshot the mark in Russia and aroused the apprehensions of the English, who finally put him down. The Germans have tried the same thing, but again aroused the fears of the English, who, although they have not them~elves wanted to dominate Europe-having an empire farther off and for the most part easier to handle-have prevented anyone else from doing so.
This was not merely a matter of education or of coming from the Eastern seaboard: the Middle Western countryman Lincoln had this sense as highly developed as any New Englander from Harvard. Nor was it a matter of blood-AngloSaxon or Dutch-or of ancestry-a family from the seventeenth century: Jacob Riis and Carl Schurz had it as much as Theodore Roosevelt or of any of the Adamses or Lodges. Before the Civil War, this republican patriotism was shared by the North and the South; and those Southerners who relied upon or were carrying on the American political tradition of Jefferson and the other Virginian statesmen were terribly perplexed and tom when the conceptions on which they had been living began to be broken down.
A Piece of My Mind: Reflections at Sixty by Edmund Wilson