Bernard Shaw's Book Reviews: 1884-1950
This new volume of Bernard Shaw's book reviews is a companion to Brian Tyson's previously edited collection of Shaw's earlier book reviews. Here Tyson collects seventy-three of the best remaining literary book reviews written by Shaw throughout his lifetime. Two-thirds of the reviews appear in book form for the first time, the originals residing in the archives of newspaper libraries, and only three of the remainder have been reprinted within the last twenty years. Politics feature largely in the works that Shaw reviewed: there are books of socialist theory and its practical appearance in the Soviet Union, as well as books on the individualism of J. H. Levy, the anti-socialism of Thomas McKay, and the economics of E. C. K. Gonner and Philip Wicksteed. There is often an immediacy about the books reviewed, too: discussion of books on World War I, the Soviet Revolution, women's suffrage, the British General Strike of 1926, and World War II all take place concurrently with the events. Many of the works reviewed are biographies, which give Shaw the opportunity to reveal his personal acquaintance with their subjects, including Samuel Butler, William Morris, and Dean Inge.
This widely varied collection sparkles with wit and wisdom, taking us briskly through Shaw's own writing life, beginning when he was relatively unknown and concluding when he was a legend.