Pearl S. Buck | Critical Review by Richard Sullivan

This literature criticism consists of approximately 4 pages of analysis & critique of Pearl S. Buck.
This section contains 342 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Josh Greenfield

Critical Review by Richard Sullivan

SOURCE: "Science and the Bomb," in New York Times Book Review, May 3, 1959, p. 29.

In the following review, Sullivan complains that the prose is limp and the characterization is weak in Buck's Command the Morning.

No question about it, since the writhing, mushroom-shaped cloud first rose over the original burst of The Bomb, we have all lived in a changed world. Regardless of race, sex, religion, age or income bracket, we are all instantly subject to reduction to cosmic dust. The means seem to be at hand to crack this old planet, like an aged croquet ball, right in two. And ironically, wonderfully, we possess these means out of our innate tendency to know and capacity to learn and find out and discover.

What Pearl Buck writes about in Command the Morning is inexpressibly important. This novel deals with the making of The Bomb and the dropping of The Bomb. Grave moral questions abound in both activities. The ideas which this book will cause its readers to ponder are serious. The intention of the author is obviously and most honorably serious. Yet this is a poor novel.

Any novel is first of all a stretch of words set down. It is desirable that these words be fresh, bright, alive and illuminating. The words have to captivate the reader, somehow. The prose of Command the Morning is limp and colorless.

The principal characters include an organizing-type scientist who has an eye for pretty women, an ingrown-quiet-type scientist whose wife doubts him because he thinks in equations, a couple of anxious-type European scientists, a spy-type, an industry-type, a military-type, and as a kind of topper a gorgeous beautiful-girl-type scientist. If any of these broadly conceived scientist-types had been individually characterized, this novel might have come alive. If all of them had been seen as persons rather than as thin caricatures, this might have been a fine novel.

As it stands, Command the Morning remains a bland and dull scenario for—with photogenic casting and some sharpening of the dialogue—a movie to make us all think.

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This section contains 342 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Josh Greenfield
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