Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Education of Henry Adams - Winner, Biography, 1919

The Education of Henry Adams
by: Henry Adams
Houghton & Mifflin Company, 1918

The Education of Henry Adams was, unfortunately, another one of the painful ones. It is an autobiography written by a pompous aristocrat who thinks much more highly of himself than those who knew him probably did. The book is a philosophical take on his life as he explores how different events, circumstances, and people led to his education in life. Being a person who is much more interested in things and events than philosophical ideas I did not enjoy it. Apparently Henry Adams lost the love of his life and was so traumatized by it that he decided to leave that part of his life completely out of the book without even a word of explanation as to why some of the most important years of a persons life were left out. The book basically covers his childhood and his years as an older man. I would say that the only redeeming thing about this book is that it is an excellent study in the attitude of the elite concerning themselves during the mid-to late-1800s.

4 comments:

RC said...

i think looking at previous award winners, helps you create a historical perspective of what literature what deemed excellent.

I imagine that this project could help you gain a great historical perspective of what has been praised as historical and literary writing for the past century.

Per your recommendation I will skip the writings of this pompous aristocrat.

AK said...

I agree completely. That is part of what I love about this project!

Kimberly Ann said...

Yes, he sounds like a jerk of a man. And, as Ryan pointed out, I too find it interesting to see the difference between great literature content of the early 20th century compared to present day.

Rebecca said...

I was searching for a blog that read the NONFICTION Pulitzer's as well as the fiction--I appreciate your honest reviews. I guess I see why people don't go back and read the early nonfiction winners. As a previous comment said, our criteria for "excellent" is different today. Thanks for your reviews. I enjoy reading them...and I'm impressed with how you're going through all of them, pretty much in order! (Hopefully the newer books aren't so painful!)