361 CHRONICLBSnPound, and Edith Sitwell.nBlunden served in the Royal SussexnRegiment during the Great War, survivingntwo years at the front and winningnthe Military Cross for bravery. Henendured and suffered as much as hisnfellow “war poets,” but Blunden, unlikenmany of the others who fell intonbitterness, admired both his battalionncommander and his wartime sergeant.nMoreover, he remained a patriot, didnnot excoriate the past, and, most characteristicnof all, he eschewed “adversarynutterance or persuasion, either tonadvance his critical views, to objectnpublicly to those advanced by others,nor to aggrandize his particular kind ofnpoetry.” Here we have perhaps thenprofoundest irony of all, makingnBlunden especially interesting fornFussell — the portrait of a man who,nhaving experienced the disjunctivenhorror of the Great War, and havingnunderstood it, still managed to maintainnthe decorum of and a feeling ofncontinuity with the past. Like PaulnFussell, Edmund Blunden was not onen”to turn from the humane and thenempirical and the difficult to the doctri­nBOOKS IN BRIEFnnaire and the facile,” and for thatnreason alone, we can thank God fornboth of them.nH.W. Crocker III is a writer andneditor living in Washington, DC.nThe House ofnDavidnby David Moltke-HansennMajor Butler’s Legacy: FivenGenerations of a SlaveholdingnFamily by Malcolm Bell Jr.,nAthens: University of GeorgianPress.nDescent from a Founding Father is anmatter for celebration to thousands ofnsons and daughters of the AmericannRevolution and members of the CincinnatinSociety, Colonial Wars, First Families,nand other sufficiently remote ornproud groups. Americans are eager tonclaim, when they can, ancestry madennoble by history if not by “blood.”nThe sad irony is that the scholarsnRoman Slave Lawhy Alan Watson; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 157npp. Alan Watson is one of the best living writers on ancient law, and this brief book on slavenlaw is one of the best comparative studies of what is mistakenly called the South’s peculiarninstitution. Watson’s book is not so much designed to be read by specialists in Roman law asnby ordinary readers interested in the American experience of slavery. Some Southernnhistorians might quibble with Watson’s suggestion that where American slave law differednsignificantly from Roman law it was owing to Southern racism, but his book is still annimportant contribution to comparative jurisprudence.nSlaves and Slavery in Ancient Rome by Zvi Yavetz; New Brunswick, NJ: TransactionnBooks, 205 pp. ‘Yavetz, a distinguished Israeli ancient historian, has provided the readernwith an important set of original texts (in translation) that might well be read in conjunctionnwith Watson’s Roman Slave Law. This is a useful compendium of sources that might havenbeen even more useful if Yavetz had not incorporated the translations of the Loeb seriesnwherever they were available. The book is concluded with a valuable survey of the issuesnand academic debates that surround the issue of ancient slavery.nViolent Origins: Ritual Killing and Cultural Formation by Walter Burkert, RenenGirard, and Jonathan G. Smith; edited by Robert G. Hamerton-Kelly; Stanford,nCA: Stanford University Press, 275 pp. Like most volumes based on a symposium.nViolent Origins is of uneven merit. Walter Burkert displays his usual intelligence andnerudition. Even when he steps outside his own field of ancient religion, he manages tonexplode the fanciful interpretations of Rene Girard — a literary critic, for all his pretensionsnto philosophy. Nonetheless, the book taken as a whole is an important step toward, if not anconsensus, at least a convergence of opinion on the role of ritual killing in culturalndevelopment.nEarly Christian Art & Architecture by Robert Milburn; Berkeley, GA: University ofnGalifornia Press, 318 pp. This clearly illustrated volume includes all the famousnsites — Ravenna, Byzantium, Rome—but also expands our horizons by surveying thenlength and breadth of the ancient world, from the Balkans to North Africa. Scholars,nministers, and Christian readers should all make an effort to acquire this lucid andncomprehensive book.nnnexamining the histories of “founding”nfamilies have again and again traced anstory marred by conflict, profligacy, andnincompetence even when highlighted asnwell by brilliance, self-sacrifice, and accomplishment.nThe Adams family is anwell-known example, though similarncases had been noted by commentatorsnon the Roman imperium and chroniclersnof the House of David long beforenthere was a United States.nIn his history of the family of MajornPierce Butler, Malcolm Bell Jr. hasngiven another case in point. This traditionalnstory of pride brought low and anfortune disputed and dissipated overngenerations is more than a familynchronicle, however. Bell has used it tontell the story of slavery, its demise, andnaftermath in the United States. Bell’snprotagonist, Butler, an impecuniousnyounger son of an Irish baronet, marriednon the eve of the American Revolutionninto a wealthy South Carolinanfamily with large holdings of plantationsnand slaves. When serving his adoptednstate at the Constitutional Conventionnin Philadelphia in 1787, he was instmmentalnin shaping the clauses protectingnslavery.nWithin two generations, the major’snwealth in slaves had been largely dissipatednby a spendthrift grandson, but notnbefore it had been the cause of seriousnfamily discord. First the major’s childrennfought over their father’s will. ThennBritish actress Fanny Kemble, wife ofnthe major’s namesake and grandson,npublished in her journals her revulsionnto her husband’s slaveholding. In turn,nthese became a major weapon in abolitionistnhands as well as in the Kemble-nButler divorce of 1849.nTwo generations later still, novelistnOwen Wister, author of that Americannclassic The Virginian and grandson ofnPierce Butler and Fanny Kemble, implicitlyntook issue with his grandmother’snperceptions of the planter traditionninto which she had married with suchnunhappy consequences. In his secondnnovel, Lady Baltimore, set in a disguisednCharleston, he characterizednthe former slave owners as admirable innmany respects and chastised Northerners.nOn reading his friend’s book,nTeddy Roosevelt complained to Wister,n”[you] made your swine devilsnpractically all Northerners, and yournangels practically all Southerners.”nWister was vehement that he was notn