Monday, December 12, 2011

British Author Uses British English Shock!

In researching for our planned Cold War Commander Big Game I've been reading up on sources relating to General Sir John Hackett's The Third World War.  I've just come across one review (written in 1983) that I just have to share.

In this review a Major Steven Cady of the US Air Force manages to criticise the book because it uses lots of abbreviations and doesn't explain them.  In a technical book on military matters? Never!  Major Cady presumably didn't think to look them up in the index, where he would have found them. In alphabetical order no less.  

A second criticism is that Hackett uses unfamiliar words like exiguous, rapprochement, and Taoiseach.  As well as unfamiliar place names.  Of course, how silly of him not to have set the book in New England!

Perhaps the most bizarre objection is that Hackett's narrative of the events of 1985 is mathematically unlikely given the multitude of possible events that could occur between his writing it in 1979 and the events of 1985.  Indeed some events had already occurred by the time Cady was writing in 1983 that Hackett had not foreseen!  

And finally we come to the ultimate sin: Hackett uses British spellings like programme, gaol, and manoeuvre and gives measurements in (whisper it) metric!  It's all so damned unAmerican!


BigRedBat said...

Must read that book again... I enjoyed it, but it has been some years.

Counterpane said...

Or better yet, read it and then sign up for our game. You can go beyond the North Circular without getting a nose-bleed you know!

BigRedBat said...

Will read it...

The review was strange. As well as his odd comments on language etc, the reviewer seemed to consider it to be a failed prophecy, rather than a novel.