Best Defense

A puzzlement to me: Why two of my favorite writers sat out World War II

I love reading E.B. White and W.H. Auden. Both are lovely writers and good observers. Yet I find I fundamentally distrust both, because both essentially sat out World War II. Neither was a conscientious objector, a position I respect. White at least grew chickens on a farm. Auden simply left England, still a relatively young ...

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I love reading E.B. White and W.H. Auden. Both are lovely writers and good observers. Yet I find I fundamentally distrust both, because both essentially sat out World War II. Neither was a conscientious objector, a position I respect. White at least grew chickens on a farm. Auden simply left England, still a relatively young man at age 32. I think it leaves a hole in the works of both.

So as I read, and nod in agreement, or underline, I hear a little voice: “Yes, but….”

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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