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Dancing To The Music Of War

The great philosopher Edwin Starr once famously said, “War, hunh, good God y’all, what is it good for? Hunh! Absolutely nothing!”

I don’t know if Edwin Starr ever read A Dance To The Music Of Time (I’m kind of doubting that). But, on the minuscule chance he did, it’s possible that book 8 (The Soldier’s Art) of this behemoth novel inspired him.

In book 8, bombs drop and people die. That’s the best way I can sum it up.

In stereotypical Anthony Powell style, the actual bombings–which occur as part of the German blitz on London in World War 2–take place apart from the story. The reader hears about the bombing, which kills several main characters, after the fact. If anyone can make a bombing on a major city boring, it’s Anthony Powell.

Our old friend Nick Jenkins now reports to Widmerpool, who has become a Major in the British army. Widmerpool is as full of himself as ever–he’s drawn to bureaucratic power struggles like a moth to flame. Charles Stringham reappears in the novel, as a waiter in the Mess Hall.

Gosh, I’m bored just writing about this book.

Remind me why I’m reading it? Oh yeah, that crazy list. Lord help me. Only four more of these books to go.

One interesting aspect of the novel, which I’ve mentioned before, is how closely it mirrors the events of the TV show Downton Abbey. It’s all about high-society rich people having to give up their lifestyles to take part in World War II.

So this was a horrible post, I know. I just got to be honest: I’m totally uninspired after reading A Dance To The Music Of Time. I’ve got nothing to say, friends.

Hopefully, but doubtfully, I’ll have a little more to say about book 9, The Military Philosophers, at the end of next month.

Have I bored you out of your mind with these books yet?

Take it away, Edwin Starr…

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. No. You boring? War is such a heavy subject. On this I would like to share with you something. My Grandfather who would have been 93 this September has just passed away. He wrote a book called Through Adversity to Attainment. William A. Franklin. I read it twice and can say without any doubt that it is a great read. He survived almost 4 years in a prisoner of war camp and the nuclear bomb that dropped on Nagasaki. He had an amazing life and the war was part of it. He was a very lovely man.


    August 29, 2012
  2. Well, the music brought back some crazy memories that’s for sure. You never bore me but I do feel we got a pretty good sense of how you are doing with “Dance”.


    August 29, 2012
  3. of course as a side note, (from Seinfeld)… ” you know Elaine, the original title for War and Peace was, War What is it Good For…..”


    August 29, 2012
  4. Hey! I’ve nominated you for the lovely blog award. See the rules on my page here: ! I love what you do and enjoy your insights.


    September 3, 2012
  5. This looks like a very honest, down-to-earth blog, I like it and will hopefully be adding some good books to my list after reading some more of your articles. Cheers!


    September 4, 2012
  6. Wonderful. I agree.


    June 3, 2013

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  1. Book #51: A Dance To The Music Of Time | 101 Books

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