Review: Downhill All the WayEditorial Review - Kirkus Reviews
This is the fourth volume in the continuum (Sowing, Growing, etc.) covering the years 1919 to 1939--the most active and rewarding years in the lives of both Leonard and Virginia Woolf when he was inevitably involved in the insistent public events of the time, when he extended the Hogarth Press, and when Virginia Woolf wrote her most important books and began to achieve the recognition that would ultimately be hers. This is in a sense a rebuttal of the title which refers primarily to the advent of Hitler and the decline of a civilization he so eminently represents, and secondarily to the personal events with which the book closes and the ""erosion of life by death."" Before this is reached however there is a very full recapitulation of his work and hers--his as an editor and as a writer, as a practical politician and as a theoretical ""heretical socialist""; hers as each book was more demanding and Jeopardizing to her precarious emotional equilibrium. Once again there are portraits of their close friends, Tom Eliot, Lytton Strachey, Vita Sackville-West, or lesser ones (more, much more, on Bertrand Russell's Lady Ottoline). If he finds it ""almost impossible to tell the truth""--an abstraction he cultivates still this seems to be a fastidiously sometimes at the expense of warmth, precise record, and it certainly has many more points of contact with the common reader than the initial volumes; all cumulate to a distinguished retrospective.