HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

A Train of Powder (1955)

by Rebecca West

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1584173,942 (3.92)25
A New York Times bestseller, this riveting account of the Nuremberg trials by a legendary journalist is simply "astonishing" (Francine Prose). Sent to cover the war crimes trials at Nuremberg for the New Yorker, Rebecca West brought along her inimitable skills for understanding a place and its people. In these accomplished articles, West captures the world that sprung up to process the Nazi leaders; from the city's war-torn structures to the courtroom security measures, no detail is left out. West's unparalleled grasp on human motivations and character offers particular insight into the judges, prosecutors, and of course the defendants themselves. This remarkable narrative captures the social and political ramifications of a world recovering from the divisions of war.   As engaging as it is informative, this collection represents West's finest hour as a reporter.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 25 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
A collection of articles written for The New Yorker covering the Nuremberg Trial and other trials in American and England. Great writer who is difficult to read, long sentences that I had to go back and read again to understand the meaning. I took my time reading this book as it had such insight into that time in history. West reported the story as it unfolded with some incredible observations into human behavior ( )
  almin | Aug 9, 2022 |
"Rebecca West is one of the most stimulating and brilliant writers living today. Nothing that she writes can be ignored or treated other than as a major pronouncement on its particular subject. Wit is characteristic of her style; her mind is richly stacked with ideas; she seems to have at her fingertips a wealth of historical allusion; to the reader she appears an expert on politics, sociology, and all the humanities. She is a novelist, poet, critic, historian, political commentator; and above all, a shrewd and lively judge of human nature". (Author profile, from the dustjacket of my 1955 edition of A Train of Powder).


Rebecca West (1892-1983) was indeed an extraordinary writer. Her first novel was The Return of the Soldier (1918, see my review) and she went on to write prolifically in both fiction and non-fiction. A Train of Powder — a collection of major essays on the nature of evil — was her ninth book of non-fiction and its account of the Nuremburg Trials is justly famous. 'Greenhouse with Cyclamens', I, II and III was originally written for the New Yorker, and it is magnificent.

But there's also a quietly devastating report called 'Opera in Greenville', about a trial of a lynch mob in the American South, and how for reasons we all now know, there was no hope of a conviction. She delivers a powerful analysis of proceedings, without a word of anger and looking at everything from everyone's point-of-view, to expose the appalling racism on public display almost as if to say, well, it can't be helped, this is how it is. And that is shocking, as it is meant to be.

But then — having exposed the violence and the extreme cruelty of the crime, committed by otherwise unexceptional men, mostly taxi-drivers of varying ages — she concludes that this public exposure has served a purpose despite the acquittals.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2020/12/21/a-train-of-powder-by-rebecca-west/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Dec 21, 2020 |
Includes several essays from Rebecca West's days as a journalist. The essays covered the Nuremberg trials, a lynching trial in South Carolina, a murder trial in the UK and a treason trial in the UK. Very interesting reading! ( )
  LisaMorr | Jan 27, 2016 |
Essays about the Nuremburg trials; Rebecca West covered these for a magazine at the time and used this experience to write 'A train of Powder'. This experience gives her a particular persepctive. An excellent and interesting account. ( )
1 vote CarolKub | Jun 22, 2010 |
Showing 4 of 4
What makes a man a traitor to his country was the question Miss West first put to herself. And the logic, both social and psychological, with which she has moved from the study of cases of treason to cases of individual or group violence, searching out the pattern of defiance of the law which is the common denominator of spies and murderers, is unassailable. . . Miss West's pictures of Mrs. Hume, of the parents of Marshall, of the families of the Greenville lynchers are all portraits which, although shrewd, lack the kind of truth which is finally supplied only by simple warmth and compassion -- the wall of her superior powers would seem to rise between Miss West and these suffering human beings. Of course, if tenderness were also within her gift, it might incapacitate Miss West as a reporter. It is quite possible she must do without this one more talent in order to make such full use of her superb intellectual gifts.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rebecca Westprimary authorall editionscalculated
Panter-Downes, MollieForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
To Margaret Rhondda with deep affection
First words
There rushed up towards the plane the astonishing face of the world's enemy : pinewoods on little hills, grey-green glossy lakes, too small ever to be anything but smooth, gardens tall with red-tongued beans, fields striped with copper wheat, russet-roofed villages with headlong gables and pumpkin-steeple churches that no architect over seven could have designed.
In 1966 Rebecca West reviewed for Harper's Magazine the 'grave and reverend book' In Cold Blood, Truman Capote's account of the motiveless murder by two ex-convicts of a Kansas farmer, his wife, and their teenaged daughter and son. (Introduction)
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

A New York Times bestseller, this riveting account of the Nuremberg trials by a legendary journalist is simply "astonishing" (Francine Prose). Sent to cover the war crimes trials at Nuremberg for the New Yorker, Rebecca West brought along her inimitable skills for understanding a place and its people. In these accomplished articles, West captures the world that sprung up to process the Nazi leaders; from the city's war-torn structures to the courtroom security measures, no detail is left out. West's unparalleled grasp on human motivations and character offers particular insight into the judges, prosecutors, and of course the defendants themselves. This remarkable narrative captures the social and political ramifications of a world recovering from the divisions of war.   As engaging as it is informative, this collection represents West's finest hour as a reporter.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
From the back cover: 'No course of action is so mad that some human being will not adopt it', wrote Rebecca West, and the longest part of this remarkable book on postwar trials is her report on the aftermath of Germany's vast national insanity. In 1946 Rebecca West was commissioned by the Daily Telegraph to write three articles on the Nuremberg Trials. She went to Nuremberg that year to hear the closing of the British and US cases and, later, the judgment and sentences. This is her journalism at its most brilliant and evocative: in the eleventh month of the trials she describes Nuremberg as a 'citadel of boredom', tedium pervading every street, every house. Here too is her careful and illuminating study of the process of law itself, her fascination with its human aspects and the collective moral will. In 1949 she went again, writing this time about the rebuilding of Germany, and in 1954 she produced a fascinating theoretical and retrospective study of Nuremberg.

Several other pieces contribute to the book's extraordinary range, including an account of Marshall's treason and two penetrating pieces of crime reportage, 'Mr Setty and Mr Hume', on a murder trial in the fifties, and 'Opera in Greenville', the story of a lynching in the American South. She brings her subjects vividly to life with fascinating biographical and physical detail, and, as in all her work, eloquently explores the nature of good and evil, the forces of life and death. These essays confirm Rebecca West's reputation as on of the most distinguished political journalists of our time.
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.92)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2
2.5
3 3
3.5 1
4 7
4.5 2
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 206,064,311 books! | Top bar: Always visible