May 10, 2016 Articles

Book Review: Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style

We wish that we had written this book!

By Dennis Owens

Mark Garvey
Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style
Simon & Schuster

We wish that we had written this book! As we took inactive status as an attorney, we had a reunion of our former law clerks. The food and drink tables were festooned with copies of Strunk & White. The cake was decorated like the cover of the book. The 60 law clerks were working in Fort Worth, St. Louis, Wichita, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Miami, and San Francisco. They had worked for us, one, two, three, or four at a time, from 1980 to 2015. At the reunion, they told tales of being given a copy of Strunk & White on the first day of work. When they produced their first memorandum, we would go over it together, word by word, sentence by sentence. At some point, we would circle a short section and ask, “What is rule 2 (or whatever rule was violated) of Strunk & White? Read the book all the way through and learn and apply its lessons.”

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