After any far-reaching junket to the library, I usually leave amazed at the flecks of brilliance lost by dint of the sheer mass of information that humanity churns out, like an ounce of gold alloyed in ton of oar. I often have the same feeling about the online world. For every one thing that goes viral, ten acts of genius are buried in someone’s quickly advancing feed.
Thus, today I find Suzanne Marchand, in a Journal of Modern History (vol. 63, no. 3, September 1991, pp. 608-610) review of Michael Burleigh’s book, Germany Turns Eastwards: A Study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich, concludes the following:
Overall, one might conclude that Burleigh has given us a competent, complete monograph that lacks, however, the ironic twists and adventurous spirit which would have made it a truly outstanding book.
Remember, aspiring writers, especially those under sober, academic tutelage: ironic twists and an adventurous spirit can be what separates “competent and complete” from “truly outstanding.”