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William B. Dillingham. Being Kipling. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. xiii + 238 pp. $79.95
INSTEAD OF THE BOOK that he intended to write on Kipling and war, William Dillingham has written a study of Kipling's experiences and beliefs based on Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides (1923). This is a volume that, Dillingham acknowledges, is "somewhere close to last place in the list of Kipling's most popular and ... most important works" (3). It is nevertheless the case, he ably contends, that this neglected volume reveals a great deal about Kipling. Dillingham reads it as "camouflaged autobiography" (10), something that might be said of much that Kipling wrote. But there are several ways Land and Sea Tales is more autobiographical than, say, The Jungle Books; it concludes, for example, with the "overtly autobiographical" essay "An English School" (175).
Dillingham emphasizes …