These thirteen recent essays are vintage Louis Rubin. They represent the phenomenal literary energy of a gifted writer, publisher, and teacher who has been at it for half a century and is still alerting us to new and vigorous perceptions of American and English writing, writers, and cultural change. The essays range far beyond the American South, exploring a broad range of literary subjects, from Winston Churchill and historical revisionism, to ghost-writing and baseball players, to the situation of American letters today. "They are a variety show, " says Rubin; and we could not ask for a better emcee. His historical awareness, his astute literary judgment, and the impress of his witty and forthright personality combine to give authoritative unity to this collection. One group of essays deals chiefly with political and military history, including the Civil War and World Wars I and II, in varying literary, cultural, and ideological perspectives. Rubin is aware always of war's pervasive and persistent role in shaping our culture, our patterns of development, and our imagination. Another group includes a provocative consideration of T. S. Eliot as a poet and critic who showed his contemporaries a way to express passion in language; an uncompromising essay on the idiosyncratic Edmund Wilson as a writer of critical journals; a consideration of newsman H. L. Mencken and the old Baltimore days of American journalism; and a review of versions of Huey Long, fictional and nonfictional, which moves on to explore the nature of biography and fiction. A final selection recalls the Fugitive Poets' reunion at Vanderbilt University in the 1950s, and concludes with Rubin's superb memoirs of two remarkable men of letters, Cleanth Brooks and Howard Nemerov.