I absolutely love this book.
The title is lifted from the full verse of the Star Spangled Banner – the poem, not the song, but is also an allusion to an alternative phrasing of Sic Semper Tyrranis, “thus be it ever to tyrrants.” Set forth fully as Sic semper evello mortem Tyrannis (a little grade school Latin).
Consider this excerpt from Letters from a Draftee to His Father, when his father asks what can be done for soldiers:
“I don’t want free cigarettes, or a carte blanche to heroic suicide. I want a real Democracy to return to…Too many men have died for an ideal that never was. I don’t want to join their ranks. I haven’t had a chance to think this all out and I’ve expressed it poorly, but you know what I mean.” – Roger, 1942.
Some of these essays / stories are remarkable for their perspective of total war. A vast sense of numbness, of people disappearing one by one until there are none, permeates some of the literature of this book. They address war narratives of which our generation is wholly unaware: British children evacuated from London to the United States under attack by U-Boats, Questions on the Freedom of Speech in war, and so much more.
It in fact contains some of the most unique reading experiences I have ever found, in the tradition of For Esme with Love and Squalor. Compiled during World War II, essayists : Stephen Vincent Benet – Poem “Litany for Dictatorships” Elspeth Huxley – The Only Woman in the Lifeboat Fourteen Points by Woodrow Wilson and the Four Freedoms by FDR, Langston Hughes, Fortune Magazine Articles. There is more literary gold and poetry in this little unknown book. A must for anyone interested in History, Political Philosophy and Wartime Literature needs this book.