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Charlton Ogburn, Jr. (15 March 1911, Atlanta, Georgia - 19 October 1998, Beaufort, South Carolina) was an author and freelance professional writer. He was the author of over a dozen books and numerous magazine articles. The Marauders (1959), his first person account of the Burma Campaign in World War II, may be his best-known work; it was later made into the film Merrill's Marauders (1962). His account of his travels along the largely deserted north eastern shore in The Winter Beach is considered a classic of nature-writing.[1]

Ogburn was the son of lawyer Charlton Greenwood Ogburn and writer Dorothy Ogburn née Stevens and the nephew of the sociologist William Fielding Ogburn. He was raised in Savannah and New York, graduated from Harvard in 1932 and wrote and worked in publishing. During World War II he joined military intelligence, leaving with the rank of captain. He returned to the US to begin a career with the State Department. After the success of his story The White Falcon (1955) he quit the government to write full-time in 1957. He married Vera M. Weidman in 1951. He was among the first State Department officials to explicitly oppose the growing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war.[2]

Ogburn is, however, probably most well known for several books and articles on the Shakespeare authorship question, continuing the passion of his parents, who had written several books on the topic, including This Star of England (1952). Ogburn Jr's last and most influential book, The Mysterious William Shakespeare: The Man and the Myth (1984) led directly to the making of a 1987 Frontline documentary on the authorship question, narrated by Al Austin, and a 1987 Moot court case on the authorship question sponsored by American University which over a thousand members of the public attended. Three supreme court justices -- John Paul Stevens, Harry Blackmun, and William J. Brennan -- heard arguments in favor of the orthodox view of Shakespearean authorship and the Oxfordian theory attributing the works to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604). Although the justices held in favor of the traditional account of authorship, Stevens later authored an influential article, "The Shakespeare Canon of Statutory Construction," in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review (1991), supporting Ogburn's position.

Ogburn's book also inspired a succession of influential articles in The New Yorker (1988), Atlantic Monthly (1991), and Harpers Magazine (1999) and stimulated a reinvigoration of the Oxfordian theory.

Ogburn's papers are archived at Emory College.[3].

Contents

Apocryphal quotation

The following quotation, or variants of it, is frequently misattributed,{reference needed} to Petronius. The quotation actually is by Charlton Ogburn, Jr.

We trained hard ... but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.

Ogburn's quote appeared in an article published by Harper's Magazine in 1957. This recounts his experiences as a junior officer in the famous World War II U.S. Army unit known as Merrill's Marauders, and the quoted passage refers to his somewhat chaotic early training. In full, it reads as follows:

We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organising, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.

See also

References

  1. ^ "In The Winter Beach, literary courage, eloquence and wisdom have, I think, brought about a triumph." (Stewart Udall)"Ogburn has written a most extraordinary book...he is a very sensitive, reflective writer in the Thoreauvian tradition." (Roger Tory Peterson)
  2. ^ Mark Atwood Lawrence and Fredrik Logevall, The first Vietnam War: Colonial Conflict and Cold War Crisis. Harvard University Press, 2007, 342. The author's refer to Ogburn's early critique of the assumptions guiding U.S. policy as "prescient."
  3. ^ http://marbl.library.emory.edu/findingaids/browse_results?q=findingaids/content&id=ogburn543_104352

External links

  • Biography at the Ogbourne Chronicles websites.
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Charlton Ogburn, Jr. (1911 – 1998) was an American author.

Sourced

  • We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.
    • From "Merrill's Marauders: The truth about an incredible adventure" in the January 1957 issue of Harper's Magazine
    • Usually misattributed to Petronius
    • See Brown, David S. "Petronius or Ogburn?", Public Administration Review, Vol. 38, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1978), p. 296 [1]
      • alternate version:

        As a result, I suppose, of high-level changes of mind about how we were to be used, we went though several reorganizations. Perhaps because Americans as a nation have a gift for organizinf, we tend to meet any new situation by reorganization, and a wonderful method it is for creating the illusion of progress at the mere cost of confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.

        • The Maurauders (1959)
        • chapter 2, page 60
  • Being unready and ill-equipped is what you have to expect in life. It is the universal predicament. It is your lot as a human being to lack what it takes. Circumstances are seldom right. You never have the capacities, the strength, the wisdom, the virtue you ought to have. You must always do with less than you need in a situation vastly different from what you would have chosen as appropriate for your special endowments.
    • The Maurauders (1959)
    • Introduction, page 6

External links


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