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Greenough and Hersey began with a noble purpose in their Preface: “One of the fundamental ideas on which this book is planned is that a purpose, not a rule, should guide a student to write well” (ix). Facilitating the student on such purposeful writing is what they have done exceptionally well.
The Internet and electronic resources are not in their discussion, Part 1 of this book is very, very worthwhile for even today’s readers. Coaching the reader through “Gathering and Weighing Material” has enormous value to a student. The section on biography, in light of “gathering material” or “choosing a subject” is good. The sensible section on criticism is superb. Matters of style, argument, description, and narration follow. And then come structure and grammar. Sandwiched between, though, are some very valuable words on emphasis, variety, and rhythm. Cautions on “improprieties” are dated, but fundamentally important, as well as attention to word count to help produce a concise style are likewise worth the trip. This is not ‘English made easy’ by any stretch of the imagination, but a student who carefully goes through this book will definitely improve.
Greenough, Chester Noyes, and Frank Wilson Cheney Hersey. English Composition. New York: Macmillan, 1921. http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=wEIXAAAAIAAJ.