Commentary Magazine

Welcome to the Archive

More than a half-century of opinion and ideas. Still timeless.

View : All Months | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
January, 1976Back to Top
The New Egalitarians
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Egalitarianism & International Politics” [September 1975], in the curious paragraph which introduces Section VIII, Robert W. Tucker admits that the new sensibility is just a new name for the long-standing issue of international distribution of income.

Romance and the Novel
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Hilton Kramer's persuasive review of Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow [Books in Review, October 1975] misappropriates the literary distinction between novel and romance.

Poverty in America
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Stanley Lebergott's essay, “How to Increase Poverty” [October 1975], is remarkably naive and simplistic and hardly scratches the surface of the subject he is attempting to tackle.

Out of Context
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I hate to belabor a point, but I thought I ought to respond to the exchange of letters in the November 1975 issue between Robert Alter and John Cuddihy, an exchange centering on Mr.

Assassination Theories
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I would like to comment on “Conspiracy Fever” by Jacob Cohen [October 1975], not from the point of.

Western Guilt & Third World Poverty
by P. Bauer
Come, fix upon me that accusing eye. I thirst for accusation. —W. B. Yeats I The feeling of guilt has aptly been termed one of America's few remaining surplus commodities.

The Return of Islam
by Bernard Lewis
In the great medieval French epic of the wars between Christians and Saracens in Spain, the Chanson de Roland, the Christian poet endeavors to give his readers, or rather listeners, some idea of the Saracen religion.

In Praise of Alexander M. Bickel
by Nelson Polsby
In The Morality of Consent,1 the late Alexander M. Bickel begins the task of constructing a liberal political philosophy that avoids the optimistic authoritarianism afflicting so much of contemporary liberal thought.

Not All Jewish Families Are Alike-A Story
by Johanna Kaplan
There was only one policeman, very young, his hands already on the steering wheel, by the time Merry got down to the police car.

The Riddle of Dos Passos
by Joseph Epstein
Is it possible to read and admire a political novel without one's own politics getting in the way? Can a Populist read Henry Adams's Democracy, with its aristocratic tone and elitist views, without becoming enraged? Can a Marxist give a neutral reading to Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon? To take a more recent example, what of E.

Wagner Comes to Broadway
by Samuel Lipman
The New York City Opera is presenting Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in English this season at the New York State Theater, and in so doing it has put us in its debt both by the quality of its work and by making it possible to raise issues which might otherwise remain unconsidered. The performance I saw represented the very pinnacle of the City Opera's achievement and its contribution to our cultural life.

A Dialogue on “Travesties” or, the Impotence of Being Ernest
by Jack Richardson
Scene One The flat of Algernon Moncrieff III on East Seventy-third Street. The room has a faded elegance about it, as does Algernon.

Watching Lina Wertmuller
by William Pechter
Like many members of Lina Wertmuller's American audience, I saw Love and Anarchy before seeing any of her other films, though it wasn't the first film she'd made.

A Ford, Not a Lincoln, by Richard Reeves
by Edward Epstein
A Ford, not a Lincoln. by Richard Reeves. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 212 pp. $8.95. In writing about the Presidency, journalists tend with increasing frequency to confuse their physical proximity to the seat of power with a proximity to truth.

Writers and Revolution, by Renee Winegarten
by John Wain
Writers and Revolution: The Fatal Lure of Action. by Renee Winegarten. New Viewpoints/Franklin Watts. 377 pp. $1250. The thesis of this book is stated concisely on p.

The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics, by A. James Gregor
by Carl Gershman
The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics. by A. James Gregor. Princteon. 472 pp. $15.00. It is now some years since the radicalism of the 1960's, often called the New Left, ran out of steam.

Arabs and Israelis: A Dialogue, by Saul Friedlander and Mahmoud Hussein
by Rose Lewis
Arabs and Israelis: A Dialogue. by Saul Friedlander and Mahmoud Hussein. Moderated by Jean Lacouture. Holmes & Meier. 221 pp. $12.95. It was in 1939, I think, that the Arabs for the first time officially refused to talk with the Jewish Palestinians.

My Country and the World, by Andrei D. Sakharov; Dissent in the USSR, edited by Rudolf L. Tokes
by Jeri Laber
My Country and the World. by Andrei D. Sakharov. Knopf. 109 pp. $5.95. Dissent in the ussr: Politics, Ideology, and People. by Rudolf L.

February, 1976Back to Top
Nuclear Weapons for Israel?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . Central to Robert W. Tucker's analysis in “Israel and the United States: From Dependence to Nuclear Weapons?” [November 1975] is the problem of Israeli security: how can Israel maintain and indeed even increase its margin of security? There is no doubt that in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict any analysis of Israeli foreign policy must be based primarily on security issues.

Appeasement & Detente
by Theodore Draper
Appeasement became a dirty word in the 1930's. It had been, for centuries, a perfectly clean, even a virtuous term.

China, the U.S. & Soviet Expansionism
by Robert Elegant
China's highly idiosyncratic view of the world is epitomized—even if not wholly clarified—by a quip making the rounds of the underemployed Peking diplomatic community after two American state visits in a period of less than two months.

Palestine Before the Zionists
by David Landes
We are not against the Jews. On the contrary, we are all Semites and we have been living with each other in peace and fraternity, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, for many centuries. —Yasir Arafat The relationship that enabled Arabs and Jews to live together for centuries as neighbors and friends has been destroyed by Zionist ideas and actions. —King Hussein of Jordan There are two theses that have won widespread credence in recent years as interpretations of the condition of Jews in the Arab world.

Fascism-The Second Coming
by Walter Laqueur
What is fascism, and have we seen the last of it? On the precise character of fascism there is no agreement to this day.

The Scandal of “Britannica 3”
by Samuel McCracken
The Encyclopaedia Britannica is, despite its name, an American institution. For over half a century, it has been published in the United States under American ownership, including that of Sears, Roebuck & Co.

In Defense of Sports
by William Bennett
Competitive athletics, currently under scrutiny, is being subjected to a method of investigation that assumes the most significant aspects of anything are those concealed from the eye.

Records and Performances
by Samuel Lipman
In an interview some years ago, Sir Rudolf Bing, the former and by now perhaps even lamented General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, said that what made great singers different from you and me was that they suffered from a throat disease.

Why Potok is Popular
by Daphne Merkin
“The readiness is all”: after the countless portrayals in American fiction of wandering and assimilated Jews—from Malamud's S. Levin to Bellow's Moses Herzog to Roth's Alexander Portnoy—the literary public, at least a large and enthusiastic segment of it, would seem to be ready for Chaim Potok's version of the American Jew—one who has never left the traditional religious community.

Can America Win the Next War?, by Drew Middleton
by James Wilson
Can America Win the Next War? by Drew Middleton. Scribners. 271 pp. $8.95.It is time, once again, to think about the next war.

Idols of the Tribe, by Harold R. Isaacs
by Diane Ravitch
Idols of the Tribe. by Harold R. Isaacs. Harper & Row. 242 pp. $10.95. In 1915, at the height of a war-time mood of patriotism in this country, when Americanization programs were being undertaken by government and private agencies alike, the late Horace Kallen published an article criticizing the prevailing ideology of assimilationism and advocating in its stead the model of cultural pluralism.

Speech-Grille and Selected Poems, by Paul Celan; Selected Poems, by Paul Celan; Paul Celan, by Jerry Glenn
by Paul Auster
Speech-Grille and Selected Poems. by Paul Celan. Translated by Joachim Neugroschel. Dutton. 225 pp. $7.95. Selected Poems. by Paul Celan. Translated by Michael Hamburger and Christopher Middleton.

Presidential Advisory Commissions, by Thomas R. Wolanin
by Chester Finn
Presidential Advisory Commissions. by Thomas R. Wolanin. University of Wisconsin Press. 298 pp. $17.50. What is it about the para-governmental device known as the presidential advisory commission that so endears it to modern Presidents? Apart from their allure for the chief executive, are these bodies of any use to the nation? Thomas R.

Against Our Will: Men, Women & Rape, by Susan Brownmiller
by Michael Novak
Against our Will: Men, Women & Rape. by Susan Brownmiller. Simon and Schuster. 472 pp. $10.95. The manifest thesis of this book may be simply stated: it is that the basic sexual relation between men and women is rape.

March, 1976Back to Top
The Presidency
To the Editor: What is most remarkable about Paul Weaver's discussion of liberal attitudes toward the “strong Presidency” [“Liberals and the Presidency,” October 1975] is that he should be taking them so seriously.

The Palestinians
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “The Palestinian Myth” [October 1975] David Gutmann endeavors to refute Dr. Walid El-Khalidi's statements in “Plan Dalet.” Far from invalidating El-Khalidi's claims, however, Mr.

On Slavery
by Our Readers
To the Editor: One test that a reader can make of a journal article is when he knows something from personal experience which is described in it.

Interpreting the Bible
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As one who has studied both literature in general and the Hebrew Bible, I was delighted and enriched by Robert Alter's article, “A Literary Approach to the Bible” [December 1975].

The Greening of American Foreign Policy
by Peter Berger
Nearly everyone agrees that Vietnam represents a watershed in American foreign policy. Then the interpretations diverge. Some would see these events as a great victory for the forces of morality in American public life; to people holding this view, the main problem in the future is to make sure that the “lesson of Vietnam” is not forgotten and that American actions in the world do not slide back into their allegedly habitual immorality.

Is Peace Possible in the Middle East?
by Walter Laqueur
One of the mysteries of world politics is the amount of attention being paid these days to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Homeless in the World
by William Barrett
Alienation is one of the deepest themes in modern culture. It has also become, alas, one of the most hackneyed.

"The Giant Killer": Drink & the American Writer
by Alfred Kazin
When drunk, I make them pay and pay and pay and pay. —F. Scott Fitzgerald America has always been a hard-drinking country despite the many places and times in which alcohol has been forbidden by law.

The Judaism of History
by Chaim Raphael
Like Hillel of old, one is often challenged to sum up briefly what being Jewish means. One can get away with anything by answering, as Hillel seemed to do, in one sentence; but it is harder when everything has to be defined, as in a recently published study, A History of Judaism,1 which is in two volumes running to a thousand pages.

Naipaul's Guerrillas and Oates's Assassins
by Hilton Kramer
One does not have to read very far in V. S. Naipaul's new novel1—the first short chapter will do—to experience that peculiar sensation, a mixture of confidence, anxiety, anticipation, empathy, pleasure, and suspense, that every confirmed reader of fiction recognizes and yearns for (often, alas, to little avail nowadays) as the special satisfaction to be derived from this branch of literature above all others.

The Ragtime Revival
by Bruce Kovner
The renewed interest in ragtime, the American popular music of the first two decades of this century, among serious (or “classical”) musicians, is one of the most curious cases of changing musical taste in recent years.

Kubrick and Peckinpah Revisited
by William Pechter
I went to Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon with less than great expectations: Kubrick's last film was A Clockwork Orange, which I detested, and the fact that this one's cast was headed by a soap-opera graduate and an ex-fashion model seemed a bad-news bonus.

The Gulag Archipelago Two, by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
by Lionel Abel
The Gulag Archipelago Two: The Destructive-Labor Camps; The Soul and Barbed Wire. by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. Translated by Thomas P. Whitney. Harper & Row.

The Image of the Jew in American Literature, by Louis Harap
by Elinor Grumet
The Image of the Jew in American Literature: From Early Republic to Mass Immigration. by Louis Harap. Jewish Publication Society. 586 pp.

The Age of Sensation, by Herbert Hendin
by Stanley Rothman
The Age of Sensation. by Herbert Hendin. Norton. 354 pp. $9.95. “Alienation,” as a term to describe the situation of American youth, first came into its own in the early 60's, through the work of such social critics as Paul Goodman and Kenneth Keniston.

Beyond Kissinger, by George Liska; The Kissinger Experience, by Gil Carl AlRoy
by Victor Baras
Beyond Kissinger: Ways of Conservative Statecraft. by George Liska. Johns Hopkins. 159 pp. $2.95. The Kissinger Experience: American Policy in the Middle East. by Gil Carl AlRoy. Horizon.

Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer
by Marc Plattner
Animal Liberation. by Peter Singer. New York Review-Random House. 301 pp. $10.00. This book begins with philosophy and ends with cookery. Peter Singer, a young, Oxford-educated professor of philosophy, attempts to convince his readers to abandon the eating of animals, and then obligingly provides them with an appendix of vegetarian recipes. More than half of Animal Liberation is devoted to a compilation of “horror stories” about useless experimentation on animals and harsh conditions on “factory farms”—an exercise in muckraking that contributes nothing to establishing the soundness of the author's philosophical doctrine.

Twilight of Authority, by Robert Nisbet
by Peter Witonski
Twilight of Authority. by Robert Nisbet. Oxford. 287 pp. $10.95. “Mundus senscit”—the world grows old—was the phrase employed by Gregory of Tours in the 6th century to describe the twilight of the Roman Empire.

April, 1976Back to Top
"Swept Away..."
by Our Readers
To the Editor: When William S. Pechter [“Watching Lina Wertmuller,” Movies, January] did not like Lina Wertmuller's Swept Away and felt uncomfortable about such a film being made by one woman and hailed by others, he might have lingered in his puzzlement.

Dos Passos
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joseph Epstein [“The Riddle of Dos Passos,” Fiction, January] has not done his homework and is therefore less than fair when he juxtaposes two widely separated-in-time and apparently contradictory judgments of Edmund Wilson on Dos Passos which demonstrate, according to Mr.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Since Henry Fairlie in “Anti-Americanism at Home and Abroad” [December 1975] quotes me, may I offer just one additional point to his article? This is that the American revisionist historians who charge that the United States and not Stalin and Molotov started the cold war have made little impression in Britain.

The Third World
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Warmest thanks for publishing P. T. Bauer's learned and lucid “Western Guilt and Third World Poverty” [January]. Perhaps not since Daniel P.

The Palestinians- Cont'd
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Astonished readers have called my attention to a supposed quotation from me in a letter in the March issue by Gary V.

The Wagner Question
by Our Readers
To the Editor: “Wagner comes to Broadway” [Samuel Lipman, Music, January] is a vivid example of critical analysis which seeks to bring a work of art and its performers into line with the preconceived notions of the critic.

Making the World Safe for Communism
by Norman Podhoretz
At the height of the opposition to the Vietnam war, government officials frequently warned that should the American effort be defeated there, the result would be a right-wing backlash at home and a lapse into isolationism.

Moses for Moderns
by Edward Grossman
Of the men who have imitated Moses recently, not all have done it unconsciously. In the speech which he delivered to the striking garbagemen in Memphis, Martin Luther King said it was possible that he wouldn't live much longer, but he didn't mind, because he had “been to the mountaintop,” and he had “seen the Promised Land.” Recordings indicate that the audience in that church knew what King was referring to and accepted his metaphor.

Salvation Unlimited
by John Sisk
America, we know, is not simply a place in which one endures his fair share of the common burden of humanity while he works his way as best he can from the cradle to the grave.

Philosophy, Religion & Harry Wolfson
by Leon Wieseltier
When Harry Austryn Wolfson died in September 1974 at the age of eighty-seven, he left behind him a reputation for personal and professional eminence that bordered on legend.

Revisionist Literary Criticism
by Irene Chayes
Barely a quarter-century after hopeful observers hailed the beginning of an “age of criticism” and with it the reform in the study of literature long needed in American universities and graduate schools, academic thinking and writing about literature in the mid-1970's suffer from a division within that is as profound as the similar divisions elsewhere in contemporary society.

Copland as American Composer
by Samuel Lipman
Though Aaron Copland has been an important figure in American serious music for more than fifty years, he remains, as Leonard Bernstein has said, “the best we have,” and his career is the very model of the success to which an American composer may aspire.

Alas, Poor Hamlet
by Jack Richardson
Is Hamlet, as T. S. Eliot concluded, ultimately an artistic failure, a work of unintegrated parts and layers, of mismatched borrowings and techniques that leave its central character vainly searching for a significant action and its author for a dramatic event that will encompass the play's breadth of emotion and intelligence? Or is the play, as Francis Fergusson argued in his book, The Idea of a Theater, a finely wrought network of analogies and internal reflections, a drama held together by the traditions of religion, state, and theater, and thus an example of subtle cultural cohesion that is both different from and greater than the consistencies of psychological realism?Having thus bracketed the “problem” of the play with these very different judgments, and added the punctuation of self-addressed question marks, I admit to a feeling of impatience and weariness, a feeling which the recent New York Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet did little to allay.

Simple Justice, by Richard Kluger
by Chester Finn
Simple Justice. by Richard Kluger. Knopf. 823 pp. $15.95. It was in December 1952 that the Supreme Court first heard oral argument in the five cases that history would know collectively as Brown v.

The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, by Daniel Bell
by Peter Berger
The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. by Daniel Bell. Basic Books. 301 pp. $12.95. This book, a sequel to The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1973), rounds out Daniel Bell's panoramic picture of the present condition and probable future of Western civilization.

World of Our Fathers, by Irving Howe
by Robert Alter
World of Our Fathers. by Irving Howe with the assistance of Kenneth Libo.  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 714 pp. $14.95. There is a haunting phrase at the end of the introduction to A Treasury of Yiddish Stories, written twenty-two years ago by Irving Howe in collaboration with Eliezer Greenberg, which lingers in the imagination because it defines an impelling paradox of Jewish existence.

Making Democracy Safe for Oil, by Christopher T. Rand; Multinational Oil, by Neil H. Jacoby; The Seven Sisters, by Anthony Samps
by Jeffrey Marsh
Making Democracy Safe for Oil. by Christopher T. Rand. Atlantic-Little, Brown. 422 pp. $10.00. Multinational Oil. by Neil H. Jacoby. Macmillan. 323 pp. $15.00. The Seven Sisters. by Anthony Sampson. Viking.

Ambiguous Legacy: The Left in American Politics, by James Weinstein
by Bernard Johnpoll
Ambiguous Legacy: The Left in American Politics. by James Weinstein. Franklin Watts/New Viewpoints. 179 pages. $9.00. American Marxist movements, it is now almost universally agreed, have been a collective failure.

The Road to Ramadan, by Mohamed Heikal; The War of Atonement, by Chaim Herzog
by Joseph Shattan
The Road to Ramadan. by Mohamed Heikal. Quadrangle. 295 pp. $8.95. The War of Atonement. by Chaim Herzog. Little, Brown. 291 pp. $10.00. In both these remarkably similar accounts of the events leading up to the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, fact and fiction are hopelessly entangled.

May, 1976Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The refusal of Gary V. Smith [Letters from Readers, March, in a discussion of David Gutmann's “The Palestinian Myth,” October 1975] to place the blame and ultimate responsibility for Arab flight from Palestine during 1947-48 squarely on the divided and corrupt Arab leadership itself should be held up to scrutiny in the light of what the world has witnessed during the last ten months of civil war in Lebanon.

The French Revolution
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Carl Gershman's review of The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics by A. James Gregor [Books in Review, January] is admirable.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Bernard Lewis, in “The Return of Islam” [January], did not refer to the Islamic Conference of 44 nations, which was admitted to the UN last November with observer status.

Wager and Pound
by Our Readers
To the Editor: With regard to Samuel Lipman's “Wagner Comes to Broadway” [January] . . .: a quarter-century ago Peter Viereck wrote of two kinds of Wagnerians; those whom he called the “Gentle Wagnerians” and the “Tough Wagnerians.” The former, Viereck pointed out, “loved Wagner as a pure musician”; while the latter “preached his proto-Nazism and anti-Semitism and .

by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Palestine Before the Zionists” [February] David S. Landes gives an important account of the discrimination and poverty suffered by the Jews of Palestine during the 19th century.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Appeasement & Détente” [February] Theodore Draper skillfully nails down the several contradictions in Kissinger's policy toward the Soviet Union.

Radical Feminism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The Nut of the Year award goes to Michael Novak for his review of Against Our Will [Books in Review, February].

Why New York Went Broke
by James Adams
“Thee commonest mistake of Europeans who talk about America,” said Lord Bryce in 1888, “is to assume that the political vices of New York are found everywhere.

Democracy and European Communism
by Hadley Arkes
Bringing the Communist parties of Italy and France into their respective governments is apparently one of those ideas “whose time has come.” In France, a coalition of the Socialists and Communists, ranged behind the Socialist leader, François Mitterand, came within a percentage point of winning the presidential election in 1974.

The Litvak Connection & Hasidic Chic
by Chaim Raphael
A Litvak, in prosaic terms, is simply a Jew whose family happens to come from Lithuania; mythopoetically speaking, however, being a Litvak is a state of mind.

Save Energy, Save a Soul
by Eugene Bardach
I own a 1961 Buick with a 440-horse-power engine. With its anti-smog device and its large engine, in normal city driving it gets about six miles per gallon.

Biblical Narrative
by Robert Alter
In a previous article in these pages, “A Literary Approach to the Bible,”1 I wrote about the general paucity of serious literary analysis of the Bible in contemporary scholarship, and about the difficulties that confront the critic in trying to understand and explicate the biblical text in literary terms.

Bach in the Original
by Edward Rothstein
You play Bach your way, I will play him his way. —Wanda Landowska In those arts, such as music or drama, in which the interpretation of a work is necessary to its public apprehension, the interpreter is in a delicate position.

by William Pechter
I fidgeted my way through at least two-thirds of The Story of Adèle H., waiting for it to get off the ground.

Affirmative Discrimination, by Nathan Glazer
by William Petersen
Affirmative Discrimination: Ethnic Inequality and Public Policy. by Nathan Glazer. Basic Books. 248 pp. $10.95. This important book is one of the first full-length accounts of the reverse discrimination known as “affirmative action,” and of how that policy has operated in the fields of employment, education, and housing.

William Carlos Williams, by Reed Whittemore
by John Romano
William Carlos Williams: Poet from Jersey. by Reed Whittemore. Houghton Mifflin. 404 pp. $10.95. The story of American literary modernism, as told until a few years ago, was doubly rare among intellectual histories: it was colorful and simple.

Courts of Terror: Soviet Criminal Justice and Jewish Emigration, by Telford Taylor et al.
by Joshua Rubenstein
Courts of Terror: Soviet Criminal Justice and Jewish Emigration. by Telford Taylor with Alan Dershowitz, George Fletcher, Leon Lipson, and Melvin Stein.

History: Remembered, Recovered, Invented, by Bernard Lewis
by Edward Luttwak
History: Remembered, Recovered, Invented. by Bernard Lewis. Princeton University Press. 128 pp. $6.95. If the task of the poet is to interpret our souls to ourselves, and that of the national historian to transmit our past to our present, the historian of foreign nations has the more difficult task of recounting the past of others, and explaining it to our own present.

On Human Conduct, by Michael Oakeshott
by Josiah Auspitz
On Human Conduct. by Michael Oakeshott. Oxford. 352 pp. $18.50. On Human Conduct is the most important work in the philosophy of politics to have been published in a long time.

Power Shift, by Kirkpatrick Sale
by Jeane Kirkpatrick
Power Shift: The Rise of the Southern Rim and Its Challenge to the Eastern Establishment. by Kirkpatrick Sale. Random House. 362 pp.

Reader Letters May 1976
by Theodore Draper
Radical Feminism TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: The Nut of the Year award goes to Michael Novak for his review of Against Our Will [Books in Re- view, February].

June, 1976Back to Top
Soviet-American Exchanges
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Theodore Draper's otherwise thoughtful article on détente [“Appeasement & Detente,” February] unfortunately conveys a distorted impression of the current state of Soviet-American academic-exchange programs.

Literature and Anti-Semitism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The review of my book, The Image of the Jew in American Literature [Books in Review, March], by Elinor Grumet is a caricature.

"Barry Lyndon"
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I often wish that movie reviewers who are disappointed by highly regarded films would agree to reserve judgment.

October 1973 and May 1948
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . I have finally determined that Theodore Draper in his article, “The United States and Israel” [April 1975], was right all along in his claim that the U.S.

Political Philosophy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his article, “In Praise of Alexander M. Bickel” [January], Nelson W. Polsby honors Bickel generally as a sensitive, intelligent, and decent human being and scholar, and specifically for his final work, The Morality of Consent, which constructs “.

Israel's Options
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Based on the evidence he presents, how does Walter Laqueur [“Is Peace Possible in the Middle East?,” March] conclude that peace would come to the Middle East “if only Israel would .

by Our Readers
To the Editor: “Homeless in the World” by William Barrett [March] contains some illuminating remarks about Heidegger's thought, but the author's cavalier dismissal of the “Nazi episode” in Heidegger's life is most charitably described as distressing.

Capitalists and Communists
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Tocqueville once wrote: “Astonishment has often been expressed at this singular blindness of the upper classes of the old regime and the way they compassed their own downfall.” I was reminded of Tocqueville when I read Peter L.

The Soviet-Egyptian “Rift"
by Uri Ra'anan
For the fourth time since 1959 the Western public is being inundated with stories alleging that Moscow and Cairo have reached a point of irreversible rupture.

An Answer to Lillian Hellman
by Nathan Glazer
Lillian Hellman, in Scoundrel Time1 tells the story of her appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, and tells something, in flashbacks, of her political life, insofar as it involved dealings with Communists or persons she thought were Communists.

American Jewish Writing, Act II
by Ruth Wisse
The career of American Jewish literature would seem to have reached a turning point. Over the past three decades, Jewish writers have made their way into the mainstream of American fiction, and have now been canonized in university curricula.

Fear-A Story
by Saral Teilhet-Waldorf
Dr. Wanaganda first saw Mrs. Anders at the Lake Victoria Hotel. He remembered the incident well because of the English boy who was leaning on the second-story balustrade peering intently through a large pair of binoculars. The boy was still, like an animal that had spotted its prey, and Dr.

Democracy According to Whitman
by Alfred Kazin
One's-self I sing, a simple separate person. Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse. Although Walt Whitman was a journalist before he was a poet, and with the publication of Leaves of Grass in 1855 began defending, prefacing, explaining his poetry in highly oratorical prose pieces, one can argue that prose was not altogether natural to him. “To the ostent of the senses and eyes, I know,” he says early in Democratic Vistas, “the influences which stamp the world's history are wars, uprisings or downfalls of dynasties, changeful movements of trade, important inventions, navigation, military or civil governments, advent of powerful personalities, conquerors, etc.” Ostent is typical Whitman, strongly suggestive if too archaic and even legendary to seem immediately right to our current notion that prose must be nothing but an instrument, “perfectly clear.” Whitman is shoveling at the reader a lot of history in that sentence, and as usual he prefers to catalogue rather than to analyze and explain.

Mumford's Utopia
by Roger Starr
The publication last year of Lewis Mumford's twenty-fifth book, Findings and Keepings (“Analects for an Autobiography”),1 coincided with his eightieth birthday and provides the occasion for a brief look at the work of a man of whom it is easy to say that he has had an immense influence on his time.

Richard Strauss & His Critics
by Samuel Lipman
Though his later operas are all but ignored in current American musical life, the fact that no fewer than four earlier operas by Richard Strauss have been produced in New Yok City alone this season—Salome at the City Opera, and Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, and Ariadne auf Naxos at the Met—and the fact that Robert Craft, a prominent critic long associated with a hostile position on Strauss, has recently been writing sympathetically about him, raise the interesting possibility that a new valuation of Strauss may be in the making.

“The Old Glory” Reconsidered
by Peter Shaw
When The Old Glory, Robert Lowell's trilogy of plays, was first produced in 1964, it appeared to offer a new direction in American theater.

The Origins of Zionism, by David Vital
by Amos Elon
The Origins of Zionism. by David Vital. Oxford. 396 pp. $22.00. In modern Jewish history, the year 1881 is the great divide. The publication in Germany in the fall of that year of Eugen Duehring's Die Judenfrage als Racen Sitten und Kulturfrage heralded a new age of “scientific” racism, which in that country would reach its culmination in the death factories of Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Schooling in Capitalist America, by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis
by Chester Finn
Schooling in Capitalist America. by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis. Basic Books. 340 pp. $13.95. Liberal critiques of American education typically stress either the inequalities or the brutalities of schooling.

Children of the Sun, by Martin Green
by Robert Alter
Children of the Sun: A Narrative of “Decadence” in England After 1918. by Martin Green. Basic Books. 470 pp. $15.00. This study of the Bright Young People who came to prominence in British intellectual life in the years after World War I is curiously divided against itself.

Curtain, by Agatha Christie
by Edward Rothstein
Curtain. by Agatha Christie. Dodd, Mead. 238 pp. $7.95. It was a glorious moment in Conan Doyle's The Final Problem when Sherlock Holmes and the arch-villain Moriarity tumbled to their deaths at Reichenbach Falls, their bodies locked together in a wrestling embrace.

Anatomy and Destiny, by Stephen Kern
by Elaine Baruch
Anatomy and Destiny: A Cultural History of the Human Body. by Stephen Kern. Bobbs-Merrill. 307 pp. $10.95. Stephen Kern's Anatomy and Destiny is a “cultural history of the human body” over the last one-hundred-fifty years.

Discriminating Against Discrimination, by Robert M. O'Neil
by William Petersen
Discriminating Against Discrimination: Preferential Admissions and the DeFunis Case. by Robert M. O'Neil. Indiana University Press. 271 pp. $10.95. Marco DeFunis, Jr., a white Jewish member of Phi Beta Kappa with a high B average in undergraduate courses, applied for admission to the University of Washington's law school in 1971.

July, 1976Back to Top
Art and the Artist
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Grounds for Samuel Lipman's critique of Meistersinger's anti-Semitism [Letters from Readers, April, in a discussion of Mr. Lipman's “Wagner Comes to Broadway,” January] lie not in the opera but in Wagner himself.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Two corrections of fact in Jack Richardson's reflections on Hamlet and Hamlet [“Alas, Poor Hamlet,” Theater, April]. T. S.

Hemingway and Roethke
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Hemingway said, “. . . but nobody is going to get me into the ring with the Count [Tolstoy] .

Freud's Jewishness
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “The Judaism of History” [March] Chaim Raphael remarks: “The Jewishness I mean is no ‘literature.’ It can be grasped through neither the writing nor the reading of books.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Marc F. Plattner's review of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation [Books in Review, March] misses the main points of Singer's book.

Mann, Reik and Moses
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Edward Grossman [“Moses for Moderns,” April] could have spared himself the tempting speculation on what Thomas Mann might have been able to do with Moses if he had had the time to try.

Ragtime and the Critics
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Bruce Kovner's “The Ragtime Revival” [Music, March] is a welcome corrective to the chuckle-headed criticism which has accompanied the resurgence of what is, in its own terms, delightful music.

Harry Wolfson
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Leon Wieseltier [“Philosophy, Religion & Harry Wolfson,” April] is no doubt correct in his assertion that Harry A.

Religion and Liberalism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I want to thank Peter L. Berger for his fair commentary and courteous praise of my book, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism [Books in Review, April].

"Britanicca 3"
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Congratulations to Samuel McCracken [“The Scandal of Britannica 3,” February] and to COMMENTARY on further exposing the scandal of the new Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The Abandonment of Israel
by Norman Podhoretz
When, about a year ago, the United Nations declared that Zionism was a form of racism, a measure of comfort for the state of Israel and its supporters could be found in the fact that an impressive degree of opposition was mounted to this “obscene” idea—as the American representative called it—both within the General Assembly itself and in the world outside.

American Values & American Foreign Policy
by Nathan Glazer
The United States is probably the only major country in the world in which it is taken quite as a matter of course that people will talk seriously about the relation of the nation's values to its foreign policy.

Why Allende Fell
by Mark Falcoff
Americans, it is said, will do anything for Latin America but read about it. And until recently, Chile was no exception to this rule.

Imagining the Holocaust
by David Stern
Throughout every facet of contemporary culture the Holocaust—the systematic murder of six million European Jews under Hitler—has become the particular image for the barbarism of our time, the modern paradigm of man's inhumanity to man.

Bertrand Russell the Man
by Sidney Hook
The publication of three books on Bertrand Russell1—one by his second wife, one by their daughter, and one by an admiring but honest biographer—hard on the appearance of Russell's three-volume Autobiography gives us more details about Russell's life and loves than about any philosopher who has ever lived.

Hugh Kenner's Modernism
by John Romano
One way to describe Hugh Kenner's immense influence as a critic is to say that, to a remarkable extent, he has had to himself the delineation of literary modernism in English.

From the Potomac to the Missouri
by William Pechter
Some years before Richard Nixon became President, Robert Osborn drew a picture of him that remains to this day a masterpiece of political caricature.

The Surprise of “Streamers"
by Jack Richardson
I went to Streamers with reluctance. The only other play by David Rabe that I'd previously seen, Sticks and Bones, had been an insufferably self-righteous exercise, a theatrically clichéd study of our society and the Vietnam war that made the same arrogant generalizations about human life which it accused the average American of making.

The Spoiled Child of the Western World, by Henry Fairlie
by Suzanne Weaver
The Spoiled Child of the Western World: The Miscarriage of the American Idea in Our Time. by Henry Fairlie. Doubleday. 350 pp.

The Jewish Woman in America, by Charlotte Baum, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel
by Ruth Wisse
The Jewish Woman in America. by Charlotte Baum, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel. Dial. 290 pp. $8.95. In accordance with the first principle of Jewish sociology—vi es kristlt zikh, azoy yidlt zikh, as do the Gentiles, so do the Jews—the rise of feminism has given impetus to a Jewish feminism that transposes Women's Lib into Jewish terms.

Age of the Masters, by Reyner Banham
by Michael Hollander
Age Of The Masters: A Personal View Of Modern Architecture. by Reyner Banham. Harper & Row. 170 pp. $15.00. Age of the Masters is a brief, informal examination of traditional modern architecture and its underlying premises by an eminent English historian and critic of 20th-century building.

The Life and Death of Leon Trotsky, by Victor Serge and Natalia Sedova; Trotsky, by Joel Carmichael
by Carl Gershman
The Life And Death Of Leon Trotsky. by Victor Serge and Natalia Sedova. Basic Books. 296 pp. $10.95. Trotsky. by Joel Carmichael. St. Martin's. 512 pp.

The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative, by Hans W. Frei;
by James Lehmann
The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study in 18th- and 19th-Century Hermeneutics. by Hans W. Frei. Yale University Press. 355 pp. $15.00. “Kubla Khan” and “The Fall of Jerusalem”: The Mythological School in Biblical Criticism and Secular Literature, 1770-1880. by E.

The Character of John Adams, by Peter Shaw; The Adams Chronicles, by Jack Shepherd
by Herman Belz
The Character of John Adams. by Peter Shaw. University of North Carolina Press. 318 pp. $12.95. The Adams Chronicles: Four Generations of Greatness. by Jack Shepherd. Little, Brown.

August, 1976Back to Top
Energy Policy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I think that Eugene Bardach's article, “Save Energy, Save a Soul” [May], makes a lot of sense. If I correct him on a point, it's because I hate to see so good an article fall into confusion. There is nothing “unfathomable” or “bizarre” about the net-energy-yield test.

Translating Bach
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Edward Rothstein's interesting and informative article, “Bach in the Original” [May], is both timeless and timely; I have a feeling that general interest in this subject has grown tremendously in recent decades and is likely to continue to grow.

The New Isolationism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Norman Podhoretz's article, “Making the World Safe for Communism” [April], is as important as Andersen's “The Emperor's New Clothes.” Its message—to use a term which is becoming obsolete—is intensely patriotic, and the patriotism is that of a citizen of the world.

“Eurocommunism" and Its Friends
by Walter Laqueur
The problem of cooperation between democratic and Communist parties is not new Originally, in the 1920's, it was a major doctrinal issue for the Communists, but lately it has ceased bothering them and has now mainly become a problem for their prospective democratic partners.

The Poverty of Socialist Thought
by Stephen Miller
Political labels are, like most things, subject to the law of civilization and decay. Such notions as liberal and conservative once enjoyed reasonably precise meanings, but by now they have become huge supermarkets under whose roofs a hodgepodge of miscellaneous notions is sold.

An Exchange of Populations
by Joan Peters
More than sixty million persons have become refugees since World War II. Of these, most have been resettled and rehabilitated in the countries to which they fled, seeking asylum.

Carter and the Jews
by Milton Himmelfarb
By now the Democratic party will have nominated Jimmy Carter and everyone will have forgotten how remarkable it is that he should have won at all, let alone weeks before the anticlimactic convention.

The English Sickness: A Touch of Class?
by P. Bauer
Class is the leitmotif or even the exclusive theme of much critical comment about Britain. The class system is blamed for just about any form of British economic adversity or social malaise, from balance-of-payments difficulties, inflation, and unemployment to industrial disputes and the troubles of the National Health Service—all those diverse phenomena which have come to be known collectively as “the English sickness.” Thus Helmut Schmidt, the West German Chancellor, said in an interview reported in the London Financial Times recently that “as long as you maintain the damned class-ridden society of yours, you will never get out of your mess,” and the Financial Times reporter commented: The single most important fault in Britain's social structure remains its propensity to accentuate class differences.

Professing English
by Joseph Epstein
For the past three years at a large Midwestern university I have taught a course entitled “Advanced Prose Composition.” Although the general intelligence of the students has not varied greatly—out of a class of fifteen, I can depend upon four good talkers, two proficient writers, two whose work is beyond repair, and the remainder lurking in the gray middle-ground—the course has nonetheless changed, each year becoming more rudimentary.

Barthelme's Comedy of Patricide
by Hilton Kramer
“Holy hell,” I said. “Is there to be no end to this family life?” —Donald Barthelme, “Critique de la Vie Quotidienne” That is a tall tale, said the Dead Father.

Heifetz the Virtuoso
by Bruce Kovner
Although he is the most popular and widely-recorded violinist of this century, possessing, by general agreement, the greatest violin technique in living memory, Jascha Heifetz has been the subject of critical controversy ever since he burst upon the music world nearly sixty years ago.

The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America: Since 1945, by George H. Nash; Up from Communism, by John P. Diggins
by Nelson Polsby
The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America: Since 1945. by George H. Nash. Basic Books. 463 pp. $20.00. Up from Communism: Conservative Odysseys in American Intellectual History. by John P.

Unequal Justice, by Jerold S. Auerbach
by Joseph Bishop
Unequal Justice: Lawyers and Social Change in Modern America. by Jerold S. Auerbach. Oxford. 382 pp. $13.95. Unequal Justice is a philippic against the American bar (with the exception of a few saints and martyrs like William Kunstler), particularly corporation lawyers.

The Last European War, by John Lukacs
by Joseph Shattan
The Last European War. by John Lukacs. Anchor Press/Doubleday. 562 pp. $15.00. John Lukacs has here attempted a diplomatic and psychological history of Europe during the first two years of World War II.

The Children of the Counterculture, by John Rothchild and Susan Wolf
by Jane Crain
The Children of the Counterculture. by John Rothchild and Susan Wolf. Doubleday. 207 pp. $7.95. The adolescents who made up the “youth revolution” of the 1960's—the flower children, hippies, communards, self-styled radicals, and other assorted counterculture types—are now in their late 20's and early 30's.

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, by Doris Kearns
by Jeane Kirkpatrick
Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. by Doris Kearns. Harper & Row. 432 pp. $12.50. It has been nearly a decade since the first public reports that then President Lyndon Johnson, one of the most influential political figures of the last fifty years, had chosen as a confidante and preferred biographer a comely White House fellow with Harvard connections and anti-war proclivities.

September, 1976Back to Top
U.S.-Soviet Exchange Contd.
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I admired Theodore Draper's treatment of the larger issues of détente in his article, “Appeasement and Détente” [February], and found it quite perceptive on some critical questions facing the United States in its relations with the Soviet Union.

"Seven Beauties"
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I read William S. Pechter's review of Seven Beauties [“Obsessions,” Movies, May] and it's hard to believe we saw the same film.

The Soviet-Egyptian "Rift"
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Despite its relative brevity, Uri Ra'anan's article, “The Soviet-Egyptian ‘Rift’” [June], is an excelent exposé of the fraudulent nature of the falling out between Egypt and the Soviet Union.

NYC: Who's to Blame?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: After reading James Ring Adams's article, “Why New York Went Broke” [May], the members of the COMMENTARY study group to which I belong find that several comments are necessary.

Writers and Critics
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The light-years distance between a cultural critic and an imaginative writer is made most explicit in Ruth R.

The 50's and Beyond
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Despite the sound case Nathan Glazer makes for Lillian Hellman's political irresponsibility in “An Answer to Lillian Hellman” [June], he exaggerates the menace Communist conspiracies posed in the war years and after.

What Is a Liberal-Who Is a Conservative? A Symposium
by A Symposium
With certain issues raised by the presidential elections—but also with a broader context—in mind, COMMENTARY recently addressed the following questions to a group of American intellectuals of varying political views: Are you satisfied with the way terms like liberal and conservative, or Left and Right, are used today? If not, how do you think these terms should be used? If so, how do you deal with the fact that many positions which used to be called liberal are now called conservative (for example, support for economic growth or opposition to quota systems) and others which used to be called conservative are now called liberal (for example, support for decentralization or opposition to big government)? Does it matter how these terms are used? Why? The responses—sixty-four in all—appear below in alphabetical order. _____________   Lionel Abel: According to contemporary Marxist theory, at least as sophisticated by the Frankfurt School, Spätkapitalismus, “late capitalism,” is the right descriptive term for the mixed economies now extant in Western Europe and the United States.

The Poverty of Power, by Barry Commoner
by Bruce Kovner
The Poverty of Power: Energy and the Economic Crisis. by Barry Commoner. Knopf. 314 pp. $10.00. Arguments by environmentalists about public policy are often based on a line of reasoning which holds, first, that we are running out of natural resources, particularly fuels, and, second, that major government initiatives or basic political reforms are necessary to stave off consequent disaster.

Punishing Criminals, by Ernest van den Haag
by Jeffrey Marsh
Punishing Criminals: Concerning a Very Old and Painful Question. by Ernest Van Den Haag. Basic Books. 283 pp. $11.50. While it is generally agreed that the continuing rapid increase in crime rates in recent years is an extremely disturbing phenomenon, there is wide disagreement about the causes of this trend and the ways in which it might be stemmed.

Israel Divided, by Rael Isaac
by Joseph Shattan
Israel Divided: Ideological Politics in the Jewish State. by Rael Isaac. Johns Hopkins. 227 pp. $10.95. In her fine study of some of Israel's lesser-known political movements, Rael Isaac sheds much light on the singular character of Israeli politics.

Why Marxism?, by Robert G. Wesson
by Victor Baras
Why Marxism? The Continuing Success of a Failed Theory. by Robert G. Wesson. Basic Books. 281 pp. $12.95. In the Decameron, Boccaccio describes a Jew named Abraham who travels to Rome to examine at first hand the claims of Christianity.

The Exploring Spirit, by Daniel J. Boorstin; Today and Tomorrow in America, by Martin Mayer
by Chester Finn
The Exploring Spirit: America and the World then and Now. by Daniel J. Boorstin. Random House. 102 pp. $6.95. Today and Tomorrow in America. by Martin Mayer. Harper & Row.

October, 1976Back to Top
Litvak vs. Galitzianer
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In these sad times of communal strife in Europe, the Middle East, and even Canada, I suppose it was inevitable that some irresponsible person should revive the ancient feud between the Litvak and the Galitzianer.

Teaching Writing
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Apparently Joseph Epstein [“Professing English,” August] would solve the problem of college students' inept writing by turning composition courses into literary-studies courses emphasizing our heritage of “experience, ideas, and the creative strength of language.” Standards of writing are to be invoked from classic texts.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Mark Falcoff's “Why Allende Fell” [July], . . . is a well-written excellently substantiated, balanced, and objective expose of Allende's failure. I believe a parallel from Chilean history is relevant.

Interpreting the Bible
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . In “Biblical Narrative” [May], Robert Alter falls into the same traps he had so carefully cited in his previous article, “A Literary Approach to the Bible” [December 1975], where true literary scholars Northrop Frye and Erich Auerbach are cast into the same pit as “excavators” and non-Hebraicists.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . I find Walter Laqueur's use of the term “Finlandization” . . . both perfunctory and ill-informed [“‘Eurocommunism’ & Its Friends,” August].

Music: Heifetz, Mozart and Joplin
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Bruce Kovner's “Heifetz the Virtuoso” [August] is a pedestrian defense of an artist who needs no defenders, The attacks of Virgil Thomson and Alan Rich hark back to the naive era when critics clamored for attention by rapping the top banana; such cheap-shot artists naturally seize on Heifetz's penchant for encore trifles, which he would have had to play even had he loathed them (one could with as little justice measure Sibelius by Valse Triste) .

Israel and the United States
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I was emotionally moved by Norman Podhoretz's article, “The Abandonment of Israel” [July], nearly to tears. Each day, in and out of the halls of Congress, I see the validity of his statements concerning this abandonment.

Performing Abortions
by Magda Denes
Stepping off the elevator on the seventh floor of the abortion hospital, I find myself in the saline unit where I am to start my research on how people involved in the performing of legal abortions feel about the work they do.

Portrait of a Survivor
by Dorothy Rabinowitz
In September 1972 the U.S. Justice Department instituted deportation proceedings against Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan—who was by then married to an American citizen and living in New York—in connection with war crimes perpetrated when she was Vice Kommandant of Maidanek and Ravensbrueck concentration camps.

Justice (Again) to Edith Wharton
by Cynthia Ozick
Nearly forty years ago, Edmund Wilson wrote a little essay about an underrated American novelist and called it “Justice to Edith Wharton.” She was in need of justice, he claimed, because “the more commonplace work of her later years had had the effect of dulling the reputation of her earlier and more serious work.” During this last period—a stretch of about seventeen years, from (roughly) 1920 to her death in 1937—Edith Wharton's novels were best-sellers, her short stories commanded thousands of dollars; but both in mode and motivation she remained, like so many others in the 20's and 30's, a 19th-century writer.

Our Latin American Hairshirt
by Mark Falcoff
For a people whose greatest need is to be loved, a British journalist once observed, of all the places on earth, Americans must be unhappiest in Latin America.

Memoir of a Prosecutor
by Irving Younger
Although I had been appointed an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York under Eisenhower, I stayed on when Robert F.

The Yeshivah World
by David Singer
In the solidly middle-class suburb of Lakewood, New Jersey, there exists a remarkable institution of higher learning that is remarkable chiefly for what it does not do.

Bernstein-The Performer as Theorist
by Edward Rothstein
Since 1943, when at the age of twenty-five he became the assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein has been a dominant figure on the American musical scene.

Altman, Chabrol, and Ray
by William Pechter
There's a sense in which, had Robert Altman's new film been better, I probably would have liked it less. Nashville was “better”: it dumped a truckload of city-slicker's scorn for “down-home” America at our doorstep, and yet covered its tracks so well that its enthusiasts were able to claim it was actually (if ambivalently) a celebration of the grit and fortitude of our vulgar country cousins.

Diplomacy for a Crowded World, by George W. Ball
by Joseph Shattan
Diplomacy for a Crowded World: An American Foreign Policy. by George W. Ball. Atlantic-Little, Brown. 356 pp. $12.95. George Ball, who was Undersecretary of State under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and is currently a partner in Lehman Brothers, brings what might be called a liberal businessman's perspective to the problems of foreign affairs.

Me and Ralph, by David Sanford
by Elliott Abrams
Me and Ralph. by David Sanford. New Republic Books. 135 pp. $7.95. Those who live by the media face the risk of dying by it, as Ralph Nader must by now be aware.

The Joy of Sports, by Michael Novak
by William Bennett
The Joy of Sports: End Zones, Bases, Baskets, Balls, and the Consecration of the American Spirit. by Michael Novak. Basic Books. 357 pp.

The Secularization of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century, by Owen Chadwick
by Gertrude Himmelfarb
The Secularization of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century. by Owen Chadwick. Cambridge University Press. 286 pp. $18.95. At the height of his campaign against Christianity, Voltaire took to concluding his letters with the motto, “Ecrasez l'infâme,” often abbreviated as “Ecr.

Truth Is for Strangers, by Efraim Sevela; A Hero in His Time, by Arthur A. Cohen
by Ruth Wisse
Truth is for Strangers. by Efraim Sevela. Translated by Antonina W. Bouis. Doubleday. 209 pp. $6.95. A Hero in his Time. by Arthur A.

November, 1976Back to Top
Hitler and World War II
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joseph Shattan's review of my book, The Last European War [Books in Review, August], consists of fifty-five sentences, of which approximately thirty-seven are wrong.

Bertrand Russel
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Sidney Hook [“Bertrand Russell the Man,” July] wisely separates . . . Russell's unquestionable importance in the history of philosophy from his propensities to prejudice, tergiversation, and other modes of unclear thinking which he practiced to his dying days, often with apparent relish for the obviously illogical.

IREX Again
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Since it was I who provided Theodore Draper with the materials he cites in his debate with Daniel C.

On Lawyers
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . It is the thesis of my book, Unequal Justice, which Joseph W. Bishop, Jr., reviewed in August, that justice in the United States has been distributed according to race, ethnicity, and wealth, rather than need; that the primary responsibility for injustice rests with a professional elite which structures legal education, bar admissions, ethics, discipline, and legal services to reflect the social, economic, and political preferences of its members and their clients; and that anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and sexism pervade the legal profession at its elite levels. I mention my thesis only because Mr.

Moralism and Foreign Policy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Nathan Glazer's “American Values and American Foreign Policy” [July] is the most urbane and far-sighted discussion of the problem of moralism and realism in American foreign policy since the early writings of Hans Morgenthau.

Carter's Populism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: By stressing Jimmy Carter's religion as a source of uneasiness among Jews, Milton Himmelfarb [Carter and the Jews,” August] misses the real concern many Jews have about Carter: his populist heritage which he still embraces.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Stephen Miller's criticism of modern socialist theory [“The Poverty of Socialist Thought,” August] represents less an ill-conceived analysis than a polemic in its own right.

Israel and the United States-Cont'd
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his salutary reminder that the nations of the world apply the double standard to Israel, pressing it to accept conditions (and make concessions) which nobody would dream of demanding of any other people, Norman Podhoretz ascribes this attitude to anti-Semitism [“The Abandonment of Israel,” July].

On Returning to Religion
by William Barrett
Everything that exists participates in a religious essence. —E.M. Cioran What do I believe? As a philosopher, I would seem especially equipped to give an answer here, and yet my profession may be just the thing that screens me off from the human intent that lies behind the question.

Is Democracy Doomed?
by Elie Kedourie
In the course of the last few years the intellectual classes of the West have been giving voice to doom-laden prophecies about Western civilization, lamenting (or rejoicing at) the decay of “capitalism,” denouncing (somberly or gleefully, as the case may be) the weakness and corruption of “democratic” government.

The Dilemma of Conservative Judaism
by Lawrence Kaplan
One of the most striking and important developments on the American Jewish scene in the twenty years immediately following World War II was the emergence of Conservative Judaism as the most popular religious movement among American Jews.

Italian Communism at Home and Abroad: The New Class
by Mauro Lucentini
Italy, the poorest and the least productive of Western industrial nations, has a public payroll that is, in proportion to its population, ten times as large as that of the United States; parts of its bureaucracy are incredibly well paid, with secretaries in some branches of government getting salaries of $30,000.

Italian Communism at Home and Abroad: The Soviet Connection
by Michael Ledeen
It is becoming fashionable to speak of European Communism, particularly the Italian party (PCI), as if it were a major schism in the world Communist movement, and consequently a threat to the hegemony of the Soviet Union—the same kind of threat that Martin Luther was to the Church of Rome.

Who is in Prison?
by James Wilson
Prisons are usually newsworthy only when their inmates riot, but of late they have become the focus of more general, and on the whole more constructive, attention.

Israeli Culture and the Jews
by Robert Alter
There are signs that since the early 70's significant changes have been taking place in the perception many American Jews have of their relation to Israel.

Sinyavsky's Art
by Dan Jacobson
Lilith: I think there is more sorrow in the world Than man can bear. Nubian: None can exceed their limit, lady: You either bear or break. —Isaac Rosenberg, The Unicorn Our consciousness fills up all the space available to it, with whatever materials are at hand.

Schoenberg's Survival
by Samuel Lipman
There can be little doubt that this century's most consequential reputation in the field of serious music is that of Arnold Schoenberg.

Hitchcock in Retrospect
by William Pechter
I'm usually skeptical about the authenticity of remarks some critics have a knack for overhearing in an audience (remarks which tend conveniently to confirm and capsulize the critic's own view), but then the comment I actually over-heard from the audience at the conclusion of Obsession left me, at first, feeling less confirmed than bewildered.

To Jerusalem and Back, by Saul Bellow
by Edward Grossman
To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account. by Saul Bellow. Viking. 182 pp. $8.95. After Saigon disappeared as a byline from American papers, Jerusalem became the place where most front-page foreign news is filed, with Beirut second.

Disaster by Decree, by Lino Graglia
by Elliott Abrams
Disaster by Decree: The Supreme Court Decisions on Race and the Schools. by Lino Graglia. Cornell University Press. 352 pp. $11.50. The case against the forced busing of schoolchildren is by now a familiar one, and was most persuasively set forth in Nathan Glazer's March 1972 COMMENTARY article, “Is Busing Necessary?” Lino Graglia has little to add to the political or sociological arguments, and for these he rightly relies on Glazer and such other critics of busing as David Armor and the newly-converted James Coleman.

Vico and Herder, by Isaiah Berlin
by Jack Beatty
Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas. by Isaiah Berlin. Viking. 216 pp. $12.50. The work and influence of Sir Isaiah Berlin are fundamental to the intellectual life of our time.

Medical Nemesis, by Ivan Illich
by Roger Starr
Medical Nemesis. by Ivan Illich. Pantheon. 294 pp. $8.95. As the public-policy aspects of medicine loom larger day by day in the media, and the awe with which laymen have regarded physicians melts into suspicion, one turns with interest to any new book purporting to examine present-day medical conditions or to offer an alternative to our current health system.

Lying, Despair, Jealousy, Envy, Sex, Suicide, Drugs, and the Good Life, by Leslie H. Farber
by Werner Dannhauser
Lying, Despair, Jealousy, Envy, Sex, Suicide, Drugs, and the Good Life. by Leslie H. Farber. Basic Books. 232 pp. $10.00. The practice of psychotherapy seems to be in dreadful disarray.

December, 1976Back to Top
Marxism vs. Pacifism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I was surprised, on reading Victor Baras's review of Why Marxism? by Robert G. Wesson [Books in Review, September], to find no reference to the major compulsion that distinguishes our century: pacifism.

Jews and Arabs
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joan Peters's account . . . of the mistreatment of Jews in the Arab countries [“An Exchange of Populations,” August] is bound to arouse sympathy.

What is a Liberal- Who is a Conservative?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Only Sidney Hook touches, very briefly, on a point about liberalism I would like to make in connection with your September symposium, “What Is a Liberal—Who Is a Conservative?” Liberalism used to be based on the view of human nature in accordance with which people can choose to exercise their crucial capacities.

The Question of Abortion
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Magda Denes [“Performing Abortions,” October], ostensibly writing in a purely descriptive vein about “how people involved in the performing of legal abortions feel about the work they do,” adroitly presents the abortion question in such a way as to provoke guilt in the reader who is in favor of legalized abortion. Though she pays verbal tribute to the unwed pregnant woman's right to choose not to carry to term, especially if that young woman is a pregnant, exploited twelve-year-old child, she nevertheless subtly lays the groundwork for one's sense of revulsion at the abortion concept, beginning with one's concern for the physical suffering and panic-like anguish endured by the “patient” undergoing this experience.

Seeing China Plain
by Edward Luttwak
It was not until we reached the “Sinkiang-Uighur autonomous region” in the far northwest corner of China that the elegant stage-management of our journey, which had begun in mid-September, finally broke down. In China proper, and even in Tibet, our hosts sustained a passable verisimilitude as we went from place to place, visiting communes, army units, factories, and the sights.

A Mirror for Presidents
by Forrest McDonald
Often as Jimmy Carter quoted Harry Truman in the recent campaign, he never mentioned Truman's favorite maxim: “There is nothing new except the history you don't know.” As a Born-Again Baptist, the President-elect may believe that the Bible contains all the history he needs to know, and perhaps he is right.

How "Partisan Review" Began
by William Phillips
Partisan Review was born in the 30's in the decade that we look back on today with so much curiosity, nostalgia, misunderstanding.

The Making of a Dissident
by Efim Davidovich
I was born in Minsk on May 2, 1924 and spent my childhood in one of the crooked little streets of the Komarovka district—Kazakova Lane, it was called.

Race and Truth
by Michael Novak
Is a truthful discussion of racial matters impossible in the present generation in this country? Let us suppose for a moment (it is not a supposition I would defend) that the souls of whites and blacks are so corrupted by relations of inequality that no human being, white or black, is capable of perceiving the truth of these relations undistorted.

Koestler's Jewish Problem
by Edward Grossman
The Khazars were a pagan tribe of Turkic-Mongolian extraction inhabiting an area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, whose king and aristocracy, finding themselves pressed between the claims of Byzantium and the Caliphate, opted to convert to a third, or neutral, religion in 740 C.E., and that religion was Judaism.

Ophuls: Justice Misremembered
by Dorothy Rabinowitz
Toward the end of The Memory of Justice—the new four-and-a-half-hour long documentary film by Marcel Ophuls which, using old newsreels and film clips intercut with interviews in the present, attempts to cast light on the nature of war crimes in our time—there occurs one of those moments, small in themselves, that invite disproportionately large reflections on the entire enterprise of which they are a part. The scene takes place in a sauna in Germany.

Brechtian Papp
by Jack Richardson
A half-century has now passed since The Threepenny Opera was presented for the first time at the Schiffbauerdamm Theater in Berlin.

Roots, by Alex Haley
by David Donald
Roots: The Saga of an American Family. by Alex Haley. Double-day. 578 pp. $12.50. When Alex Haley was growing up in Tennessee during the 1920's, his grandmother used to entertain him with stories about his ancestors.

Saint Paul, by Michael Grant
by Hyam Maccoby
Saint Paul. by Michael Grant. Scribner's. 250 pp. $14.95. At the beginning of Christianity stand two figures: Jesus and Paul. What was the relation between the two? Orthodox Christian doctrine is that Paul was the humble follower and faithful explicator of Jesus.

Adolf Hitler, by John Toland
by Joseph Shattan
Adolf Hitler. by John Toland. Doubleday. 1035 pp. $14.95. The disparity between Adolf Hitler's enormous power and influence, on the one hand, and the repellent character of his life, on the other, poses a peculiarly difficult problem for the biographer.

The Dunne Family, by James T. Farrell
by Barry Wallenstein
The Dunne Family. by James T. Farrell. Doubleday. 326 pp. $8.95. A landmark in American literature has just been achieved with the publication of James T.

The Next 200 Years, by Herman Kahn, William Brown, and Leon Martel; RIO: Reshaping the International Order, edited by Jan Tinber
by Bruce Kovner
The Next 200 Years: A Scenario for America and the World. by Herman Kahn, William Brown, and Leon Martel. Morrow. 241 pp.

Pin It on Pinterest

Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
for full access to
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
Don't have a log in?
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.