London: 2011. First edition. We did not expect James Moore's biography of Lord Pentland to be an admiring tribute, but given the title, we expected it to focus on the Gurdjieff Work. Sadly, its focus is the historical events of its subject's life and, significantly, circumstantial events surrounding it. Moore seems to justify this focus by saying, "it is only when an appropriate 'prequel' is attempted … that we may empathise, perhaps more charitably, with the poor soul to whom fate dealt so singularly a hand of cards…" Despite this opening, we struggle to find any empathy or charity from Moore toward his subject.
So historical narratives are fine, if you care for such, but with them we expect apparent facts to be accredited to sources. Without sources referenced, the reader is at pains to distinguish fact from fiction. Many instances in this book are presented as a report without explanation of whether it is based on a first-hand account or Moore's imagination. The author justifies this discrepancy by claiming that footnotes and endnotes have a "dire effect on narrative momentum." Well, to imitate the opening quip in Andrew Rawlinson's review of this title, "It is, I think, impossible to write a good biography of someone you consider a nonentity," it is, we think, difficult to write a compelling narrative when you think your subject a bore. And we scratch our heads wondering why one would bother.
Yet, we offer it, with fair warning. Fine condition in very good dust jacket. Item #19380