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No educated person can fail to be fascinated -- immediately -- no matter which volume is opened. Or words to that effect, expressed more prettily, by Geoff Bocca, a fascinating English journalist and author. I found the 8 volumes in the stacks of the Pubblic Library in Richmond, Virginia. With my eyes closed, I opened one at random, then glanced at the page. I immediately became fascinated. Doubted it would happen again -- after all, who really wants to know about the Crimean War? So I tried the random choice. And again I was fascinated. One more try? And again, fascination. I took all eight volumes home and read them pretty much straight through. Why? Kinglake's true subject is character in Men. Churchill loved the book and acknowledged that it influenced his style -- and his opinions.
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