Writing to Learn – Amazon Review of

5.0 out of 5 stars
An Importrant Book on Writing to Learn and Learning to Write

Mr. Zinsser echoes many of my fears and concerns with writing. At 18 years old, I wrote my first and most meaningful official document, an explanation of an infantryman’s death. I sought to explain how my fire-team leader died from a bullet fired from a “spider hole” in the “Iron Triangle,” Vietnam, January 11, 1966. A hail of bullets struck my comrade and nearly took off my head several times that morning.

Neither had I any idea of what my leaders expected nor did I have the simple skills to give a good account of that moment. If I had followed some model, something like Ernie Pyle’s war correspondence (a stretch), I could have honored my fallen leader. If I had the writing skills, I could have brought clarity of the moment to others. That document testified to my lack of writing experience.

Of course, I see my childhood education would have changed dramatically had my parents and teachers insisted that I “settle down” and “learn to learn” by “writing across the curriculum.” Education ought to follow this simple process and remain directed by it. Of course, it would not hurt to avoid wars in the first place.

Writing to Learn