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, 1989Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Fernanda Eberstadt [Books in Review, December 1988] is the only reviewer of Picasso: Creator and Destroyer who cannot bring herself to acknowledge what is a matter of indisputable fact: the book's success.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Rael Jean Isaac's review of Peace and Revolution: The Moral Crisis of American Pacifism by Guenter Lewy [Books in Review, September 1988] .

by Our Readers
To the Editor: I want to commend you on Jerry Z. Muller's excellent, long-overdue article, “Communism, Anti-Semitism & the Jews” [August 1988].

Liberalism & American Jews
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his article, “Liberalism & American Jews” [October 1988], Irving Kristol has accomplished what I have always believed to be impossible.

Is Communism Reversible?
by Jean-François Revel
Suddenly it seems possible to think about the reversibility of Communism. First the 1979 economic reforms in China, then the bold actions and, especially, the bold words of Mikhail Gorbachev have been pushing in the direction of a change to which some Western observers have not hesitated to apply the word revolutionary. The many domestic plans and projects are not the only signs of transformation.

Jewish Guilt and Israeli Writers
by Ruth Wisse
On October 22, delayed by an unseasonal snowstorm in Montreal, I arrived in Berkeley, California, for a three-day conference on “The Writer in the Jewish Community: An Israeli-North American Dialogue.” From the exquisite care that had been taken over the travel and program arrangements, I knew that the considerable financial backing this project enjoyed had been complemented by an equal amount of human effort.

Racial Preference in Court (Again)
by Terry Eastland
On October 11, 1988, for the tenth time in the past eleven years, the Supreme Court once again heard lawyers argue the legality of racial preference.

Self-Determination, Arab-Style
by David Pryce-Jones
In the course of 1941, as a child of five, I reached Morocco, coming from Vichy France. Although English, I was then in the care of an aunt and uncle, the latter a Spanish diplomat who had been accredited to the government of Marshal Pétain but was now being transferred to the consulate in Larache.

Low Anxiety A Story
by Joseph Epstein
Harry Resnick slipped in behind the steering wheel, drew the seat belt across his lap, tilted the wheel forward, and flicked on the radio.

Postmodernist Blues
by James Gardner
At 3:32 P.M. on July 15, 1972, several tons of TNT were detonated in the city of St. Louis, and the Pruitt-Igoe building complex, a public-housing disaster of fairly ordinary “modernist” angles and bare walls, came crashing to the ground.

The Second Coming of J.F. Powers
by Carol Iannone
Asked once by an earnest graduate student to name the contemporary fiction writers he most admired, Saul Bellow answered with three, among them J.F.

Day of Reckoning, by Benjamin M. Friedman
by Irwin Stelzer
Anti-Reaganomics Day of Reckoning: The Consequences of American Economic Policy Under Reagan and After by Benjamin M. Friedman Random House. 320 pp. $19.95 Whether or not the departure of Ronald Reagan will bring what has come to be called Reaganomics to an end remains to be seen.

Broken Alliance: The Turbulent Times Between Blacks and Jews in America, by Jonathan Kaufman
by Murray Friedman
Cooperation & Conflict Broken Alliance: The Turbulent Times Between Blacks and Jews in America. by Jonathan Kaufman. Scribner's. 311 pp. $19.95. A great deal has been written on black-Jewish relations, but, perhaps surprisingly, we still do not have a really good history of the topic.

Meet Me at Jim & Andy's: Jazz Musicians and Their World, by Gene Lees
by Terry Teachout
Jazzmen Meet Me at Jim & Andy's: Jazz Musicians and Their World. by Gene Lees Oxford University Press. 265 pp. $18.95. Clint Eastwood's movie Bird, a remarkably precise evocation of the life and times of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, is a brutally frank portrait of a psychopath who also happened to be a musical prodigy.

Landslide, by Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus
by Scott McConnell
Iran-Contra Landslide: The Unmaking of the President 1984-1988. by Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus. Houghton Mifflin. 384 pp. 9.95. Arriving in the bookstores with almost comically bad timing, Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus's hastily written Landslide is an attempt to explain the “unmaking” of the Reagan presidency.

Reader Letters January 1989
by Irving Kristol
Liberalism & American Jews TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: In his article, "Liberalism & American Jews" [October 1988], Irving Kristol has accomplished what I have always believed to be impossible.

February, 1989Back to Top
Stalin's Terror
by Our Readers
To the Editor: J. Arch Getty should not be allowed, even to the extent that he had done so in a letter, to evade Walter Laqueur's characterization of him [“An Exchange on Glasnost,” Letters from Readers, November 1988, commenting on Walter Laqueur's article, “Glasnost & Its Limits,” July 1988].

Israel & American Jews
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In the course of his rampaging review-essay on my book, Where Are We? The Inner Life of America's Jews, Edward Alexander describes the phrase “caring people” as “a repellent expression which means exactly nothing” [“Where Is Zion?,” September 1988].

by Our Readers
To the Editor: I do not disagree with the practical conclusions of Daniel Pipes and Adam Garfinkle's article, “Is Jordan Palestine?” [October 1988], although I believe Israel and the United States should pursue a more active peace policy than the one they recommend.

Why the Democrats Lost Again
by Joshua Muravchik
In the weeks before election day, as George Bush's victory over Michael Dukakis grew more certain, it seemed likely that this defeat would finally be the one to persuade the Democrats to examine their ways.

Victorian Values/Jewish Values
by Gertrude Himmelfarb
In her recent election campaign, replying to a television interviewer who observed, rather derisively, that she seemed to be approving of “Victorian values,” Margaret Thatcher enthusiastically agreed: “Oh exactly.

Life Under Communism Today
by Arch Puddington
The 1988 Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea, went down in history as yet another triumph for the Communist world.

The Professor and the L-Word
by Midge Decter
People acquainted with him in the ordinary way would have said without hesitation that he was a man of moderate, agreeable temperament Those who knew him more intimately would probably have been conscious of him as a man with a somewhat greater than normal supply of edgy vanity, but usually well enough under control.

Hemingway: Portrait of the Artist as an Intellectual
by Paul Johnson
At first glance Ernest Hemingway is not easily recognized as an intellectual at all. On closer inspection he is not only seen to exhibit all the chief characteristics of the intellectual but to possess them to an unusual degree, and in a specifically American combination.

Oral History A Story
by Allegra Goodman
Rose Markowitz volunteers once a week for the Venice Oral History project. They send her a girl, Alma, on Mondays and Rose tells her the details of her life.

The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace, by Strobe Talbott
by Donald Kagan
Heroes, Villains & SDI The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace. by Strobe Talbott. Knopf. 416 pp. $19.95. The idea of arms control is surprisingly old.

The Men and Women of Yeshiva, by Jeffrey S. Gurock
by Steven Bayme
“Torah and Science” The Men and Woman of Yeshiva by Jeffrey S. Gurock. Columbia University Press. 302 pp. $35.00. During his tenure as Secretary of Education, William J.

Inside the National Security Council, by Constantine C. Menges; Perilous Statecraft, by Michael A. Ledeen
by David Brock
Personal Accounts Inside The National Security Council by Constantine G Menges. Simon & Schuster. 418 pp. $19.95. Perilous Statecraft: An Insider's Account of the Iran-Contra Affair. by Michael A.

A Bright and Shining Lie, by Neil Sheehan
by George Russell
Manifest Perdition A Bright and Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. by Neil Sheehan. Random House. 861 pp. $24.95. The Tet offensive occurred a generation ago; the panicky pullout from the rooftop of the U.S.

Reader Letters February 1989
by Jakob Petuchowski
Jordan/Palestine TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: I do not disagree with the prac- tical conclusions of Daniel Pipes and Adam Garfinkle's article, "Is Jordan Palestine?" [October 1988], although I believe Israel and the United States should pursue a more active peace policy than the one they recommend.

March, 1989Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joshua Muravchik offers some valid criticisms in his review of my book, Covert Cadre: Inside the Institute for Policy Studies [Books in Review, October 1988], but his points would be more effective if they were presented as a measured response, instead of a one-sided attack.

“In God We Trust”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Wilfred M. McClay's article, “Religion in Politics; Politics in Religion” [October 1988], contains a factual error. . .

Richard Nixon
by Our Readers
To the Editor: After reading Paul Johnson on President Nixon's 1999 [“In Praise of Richard Nixon,” October 1988], I began to wonder whether we had read the same book.

The Soviet Threat
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . At some point in the course of Angelo M. Codevilla's article, “Is There Still a Soviet Threat?” [November 1988], I found myself wondering why, if things were so bad, the Finlandization of Western Europe had not already occurred.

Israel: A Lamentation From the Future
by Norman Podhoretz
Looking backward from this grim point in the 21st century, we Jews—the dwindling remnant of a critically wounded people—are still tormented by the memory of the things we did and the things we failed to do in the accursed days when Israel was finally lost.

On Not Being a Dove
by John Updike
In the summer of 1966 on Martha's Vineyard, where the mail was rendered sticky and soft by the damp salt air, as if permeated by a melting island unreality, I received a questionnaire from some British editors asking—in the manner of a book compiled, thirty years before, of opinions oh the Spanish Civil War—“Are you for, or against, the intervention of the United States in Vietnam?” and “How, in your opinion, should the conflict in Vietnam be resolved?” Had the questions arrived on the mainland, where I had so much else to do, I would probably have left them unanswered: but in the mood of islanded leisure and seclusion that I had come to afford I sat down at my makeshift desk and typed out, with some irritation, this response:Like most Americans I am uncomfortable about our military adventure in South Vietnam; but in honesty I wonder how much of the discomfort has to do with its high cost, in lives and money, and how much with its moral legitimacy.

What Was T.S. Eliot?
by Robert Alter
The centennial of T.S. Eliot's birth, 1988, was a year of reassessments of his role in modern poetry. Some of these were elicited by the sheer solemnity of the calendric occasion, others by the appearance of two volumes, Lyndall Gordon's Eliot's New Life1 (a sequel to her 1977 biography, Eliot's Early Years), and The Letters of T.S.

The Least Responsive Branch
by L. Crovitz
The Constitution established two-year terms in the House of Representatives in order to make it the body most accountable to the voters.

Nuclear Revisionism
by Patrick Glynn
One important by-product of the passionate antinuclear controversy earlier in this decade has been a wave of new and influential revisionist writing on the role of nuclear weapons in postwar history.

Purple Smoke A Story
by Felix Roziner
To Lev Feigelovitz The action of this story, based on a true incident, takes place just after the end of World War II, when Lithuanian partisans (the Greens, the Forest Brotherhood) were engaged in fighting the Soviet occupation. Soon it will a year since these letters began arriving—from a judge in Chicago, a lawyer in Cleveland, the police here in Jerusalem, Danny Varshavsky in Philadelphia—envelope after envelope, and in each one Vladas, Vladas, Vladas!

The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War; The Archidamian War; The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition; The Fall of the Ath
by Edward Luttwak
Athens vs. Sparta The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War (391 pp., $42.50, 1969); The Archidamian War (367 pp., $39.50, 1974); The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition (372 pp., $39.50, 1981); The Fall of the Athenian Empire (426 pp., $39.50, 1987). by Donald Kagan. Cornell University Press. Imagine that the only contemporary record of most events of World War II had been written by a well-known general on the losing side, seriously at odds with his own people—a Rommel, say, though of philosophical disposition, moral clarity, evident compassion, and altogether superior intellect.

Response to Modernity, by Michael A. Meyer
by David Singer
Tradition and Change Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism. by Michael A. Meyer. Oxford University Press. 494 pp.

“They Always Call Us Ladies”: Stories From Prison by Jean Harris
by John Dilulio,
Women Behind Bars “They Always Call Us Ladies”: Stories From Prison. by Jean Harris. Scribner's. 276 pp. In 1981, Jean Harris, a Smith College graduate and former headmistress of the Madeira School in Virginia, was sentenced to fifteen years to life for the murder of Dr.

Hong Kong, by Jan Morris
by William McGurn
Epitaph Hong Kong. by Jan Morris. Random House. 359 pp. $19.95. In Hong Kong, the last great outpost of imperial England, a local TV station has taken to running a weekly series charting the crown's embarrassing forty-year retreat from holdings that not long ago covered more than a quarter of the earth.

The IQ Controversy, by Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman
by Daniel Seligman
Measuring Intelligence The IQ Controversy: The Media and Public Policy. by Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman. Transaction Books. 310 pp. $24.95. Not many Americans know a great deal about intelligence testing, but strong opinions about it are rampant.

Reader Letters March 1989
by Arnold Beichman
The Soviet Threat TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: ... At some point in the course of Angelo M. Codevilla's article, "Is There Still a Soviet Threat?" [November 1988], I found myself wondering why, if things were so bad, the Finlandization of Western Europe had not already occurred. Various answers suggested them- selves: (1) It is much more difficult to invade territory than to defend it, and therefore the Soviet Union does not yet possess so substantial an advantage as to be deemed a credible threat; (2) the troop reli- ability of Warsaw Pact forces is, to say the least, poor .

April, 1989Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Eric J. Sundquist has provided a magnificent literary illumination of Whittaker Chambers's Witness [“‘Witness’ Recalled,” December 1988]. He cites as well several possible reasons for the recent neglect of that book.

Agnon and Heine
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Cynthia Ozick has done superbly well with S.Y. Agnon Englished [“Agnon's Antagonisms,” December 1988], but there are even more imbrications to be unearthed on this subject.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: In the last paragraph of Thomas J. Main's review of my book, The Sisterhood [Books in Review, October 1988], this sentence appears: “Missing altogether [from the feminist movement] are intellectuals who express their thoughts in the language developed by generations of political thinkers and actors, and whose frame of reference is the history of democratic institutions, their progress and their failings.” Mr.

Carlo Tresca
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I would like to comment on Stephen Schwartz's review of Dorothy Gallagher's book, All the Right Enemies: The Life and Murder of Carlo Tresca [Books in Review, November 1988].

Genesis 1
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . In his article, “Evolution and the Bible: Genesis 1 Revisited” [November 1988], Leon R. Kass summarily rejects the enterprise called “creation science.” Nonetheless, he confesses to a grudging defense of the creation scientists and their fundamentalist followers.

Can Poland Ever Be Free?
by Alain Besanqon
To many observers it now seems that over the last year or so Poland has been on the move again, if not so dramatically as in 1980.

Behind Behind “Who is a Jew” A Letter from Jerusalem
by Edward Norden
Following a frigid winter which was blamed on the greenhouse effect, the apricot trees of the Judean hills, visible from the Jerusalem Hilton, are in bloom.

The Only Hope for Latin America
by Mark Falcoff
As the 20th century nears its final decade, the forces which have shaped the entire postwar era appear at long last to be in definitive decline.

Why My Grandfather Leon Trotsky Must Be Turning in His Grave
by Yulia Akselrod
The first place I remember was a big room, divided by a partition, in a rather spacious communal apartment in Moscow.

American Jews: Diehard Conservatives
by Milton Himmelfarb
I They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. —Talleyrand Talleyrand meant the Bourbon loyalists, a byword ever since for diehard conservativism. A diehard is “a person who obstinately refuses to abandon old theories or policies, one who resists change,” or alternatively “an extreme conservative.” Because diehards can be of the Left as well as the Right, in the Soviet Union unreconstructed Marxist-Leninists are called conservatives. In the United States the 1988 presidential voting showed what diehard conservatives American Jews are.

Apocalypse Again
by Peter Shaw
Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. —Robert Frost Predictions of the end of the world, as old as human history itself and lately a subject of scholarly inquiry, have by no means abated in our own time.

A New Look at Prokofiev
by Samuel Lipman
There have been three great modern Russian composers: Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), and Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953).1 In an important sense, each member of this trio is musically defined by his physical relation to the land of his birth.

The Brodkey Question
by Carol Iannone
Harold Brodkey is the kind of writer a critic loves to hate. Touted as a literary genius on the basis of a perennially unfinished novel and a handful of difficult-to-read New Yorker stories about his own traumatic childhood, he has been pushed down our throats like some obnoxious older cousin who has inexplicably garnered the admiration of the family elders.

Parting the Waters, by Taylor Branch
by Joshua Muravchik
The Movement Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63. by Taylor Branch. Simon & Schuster. 1062 pp. $24.95. The United States is probably the most successful political experiment of all time, but it is not utopia.

Members of the Tribe, by Ze'ev Chafets
by Edward Alexander
Burial Tour? Members of the Tribe: On the Road in Jewish America. by Ze'ev Chafets. Bantam Books. 253 pp. $18.95. In December of last year my wife and I drove into Natchez, Mississippi.

La Capital, by Jonathan Kandell
by David Frum
Ruin La Capital: The Biography of Mexico City. by Jonathan Kandell. Random House. 640 pp. $24.95. Only toward the very end of this huge work does Jonathan Kandell, who covered Latin America for the New York Times and is now assistant foreign editor of the Wall Street Journal, begin to convey some sense of the ecological and economic catastrophe that is modern Mexico City.

The Direction of Poetry, edited by Robert Richman
by Robert Alter
Rhyme and Reason The Direction of Poetry: An Anthology of Rhymed and Metered Verse Written in the English Language Since 1975. by Robert Richman. Houghton Mifflin.

Reader Letters April 1989
by Leo Blond
Genesis 1 To THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: ... In his article, "Evolution and the Bible: Genesis 1 Revisited" [November 1988], Leon R. Kass summarily rejects the enterprise called "creation science." Nonethe- less, he confesses to a grudging defense of the creation scientists and their fundamentalist followers. He views them as "properly dissat- isfied" with a theory of evolution that refuses to confront ultimate sources and origins, that dismisses the search for causal explanation as obscurantist metaphysics.... In his concluding paragraphs, Mr.

May, 1989Back to Top
Low Anxiety
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Hats off to Joseph Epstein for his story “Low Anxiety” [January]. His witty prose turns the reader's attention to the human cost of casual immorality in an artistically edifying manner.

Israeli Writers
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I very much enjoyed Ruth R. Wisse's article, “Jewish Guilt and Israeli Writers” [January]. Over the past decade, the American media have been inundated by hand-wringing, mea culpas, accusations, and downright animosity directed at Israel by Israeli writers.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: James Gardner's “Postmodernist Blues” [January] describes the current art scene with startling clarity and understanding. His observation that the general acceptance of postmodernism today is a miracle of marketing strikes me as right on the mark.

Affirmative Action
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Racial Preference in Court (Again)” [January] Terry Eastland gives a good description of the ominous trend toward a nationwide system of racial discrimination that is now being fostered by the Supreme Court under the name of “affirmative action.” If anything, the situation may be worse than he says.

The Arabs
by Our Readers
To the Editor: David Pryce-Jones's “Self-Determination, Arab-Style” [January] neatly separates the reality of Arab political life from the propaganda. . .

French Unemployment
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I read Jerry Z. Muller's “Capitalism: The Wave of the Future” [December 1988] with great interest and agree with his argument, but I would like to make one correction.

Constitutional Law
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . As an author, I always enjoy and respect a rigorous, well-formulated review that debates on the merits the serious issues I attempt to grapple with in my scholarship.

A Nation Still at Risk
by Chester Finn,
Six years ago, a blue-ribbon commission studying our education system declared us a “nation at risk.” Our students were not studying the right subjects, were not working hard enough, were not learning enough.

Drugs and Youth
by Joseph Adelson
Drugs and youth—each, taken separately, is the occasion of illusion, and taken together, they multiply our illusions. Drugs make for illusion in two ways: they are vehicles of self-deception, providing false but gratifying visions of the self and its prospects, visions of peace, excitement, grandeur, transcendence.

The Deal in Central America
by Elliott Abrams
It has been a very long time since an important fight for democracy took place in a familiar, even heroic setting such as the channel coast of France.

German Historians at War
by Jerry Muller
Last November, the West German parliament met in special session. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the organized pogroms of Kristallnacht, but it was the Holocaust as a whole, and not just one night, which was being commemorated in Bonn.

The Tower Precedent
by Suzanne Garment
As the battle over the nomination of John Tower to be Secretary of Defense raged across the television screens of the republic, careering from White House press conference to talk show to Senate debate courtesy of C-Span, it looked like the attack on Robert Bork all over again. Like Bork, who was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1987, Tower had been named by a Republican President to a high government post.

Our Road to Zion: A Memoir
by David Vital
In settled societies, the question why you should have passed your childhood in one place rather than another is rarely of more than routine interest: a father's change of job, a death in the family, a one-time migration from one country to another, a natural catastrophe.

A (Jewish) Double Helix
by Chaim Raphael
If only Because Jewish experience has gone on for so long and in such differing circumstances, it is notoriously difficult to frame a satisfactory definition of what it means to be a Jew.

Science and the Unborn, by Clifford Grobstein
by Richard Neuhaus
After Roe V. Wade Science and Unborn: Choosing Human Futures. by Clifford Grobstein. Basic Books. 207 pp. $18.95. It is widely assumed that, one way or another, Roe v.

Trading Places, by Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr.
by David Frum
Neomercantilism Trading Places: How We Allowed Japan to Take the Lead. by Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr. Basic Books. 365 pp. $19.95. When Trading Places was published last fall, the environment for the success of its ominous message about the Japanese must have seemed far from hospitable.

The Autobiography of a Seventeenth-Century Venetian Rabbi, translated and edited by Mark R. Cohen
by Andre Aciman
Renaissance Man The Autobiography of a Seventeenth-century Venetian Rabbi: Leon Modena's Life of Judah. by Mark R. Cohen. Princeton University Press. 308 pp.

Law and Literature, By Richard A. Posner
by Peter Shaw
Legal Fiction Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation. By Richard A. Posner. Harvard University Press. 371 pp. $25.00. Intellectually speaking, the law-and-literature movement, which got under way in the 1980's, cannot be said to exist.

Paul Robeson, by Martin Bauml Duberman
by Harvey Klehr
“People's Artist” Paul Robeson: A Biography. By Martin Bauml Duberman. Knopf. 763 pp. $24.95. For all of Paul Robeson's man­ifold achievements as an athlete, a singer, and an actor, it was his political activities, and in particular his long record of devotion to the Soviet Union, that turned him into a culture hero.

Reader Letters May 1989
by Ruth Wisse
Constitutional Law TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: ... As an author, I always enjoy and respect a rigorous, well-formu- lated review that debates on the merits the serious issues I attempt to grapple with in my scholarship. Unfortunately, Stanley C.

June, 1989Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I recently had the chance quite incidentally to read Walter Laqueur's interesting article, “Glasnost & Its Limits” [July 1988], and a sampling of letters-to-the-editor on the same topic [November 1988].

by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Hemingway: Portrait of the Artist as an Intellectual” [February], Paul Johnson writes: “. . . insofar as Hemingway had literary progenitors, it might be said he was the offspring of a marriage between Kipling and Joyce.” This is bad genealogy. In The Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway-as-narrator says: “All modern American literature comes from a book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn .

Montesquieu & the Jews
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Gertrude Himmelfarb's exploration of Jewish, Victorian, and capitalist ethics receives confirmation from a welcome direction [“Victorian Values/Jewish Values,” February].

The Democrats
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his powerful, frequently persuasive, and always well-documented article, “Why the Democrats Lost Again” [February], Joshua Muravchik stresses the Democrats' need “to push the party back toward the Center,” if they are ever to win the presidency again.

The Ayatollah, the Novelist, and the West
by Daniel Pipes
Twice now in the span of a decade, the Ayatollah Khomeini has challenged some of Western civilization's deepest values. In November 1979, by permitting a seizure of the American embassy, he violated the hallowed laws of Western diplomacy.

The Rushdiad
by Midge Decter
Even in a public world as beset by chance and accident as ours, it is hard to think of an event more unexpected than the international literary-political brouhaha surrounding Salman Rushdie and his novel The Satanic Verses during the months of February and March 1989. By now there must be very few literate people on the face of the globe who are unaware of at least some part of the Rushdie story: how after British publication in September 1988 of The Satanic Verses the book was declared a blasphemy and banned in several Islamic countries, such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and was banned also in India and South Africa; how Muslims in Britain, particularly in Yorkshire, burned copies of the book in angry public demonstrations; how, when Viking Penguin announced the publication of an American edition, an angry Pakistani mob marched on the American cultural center in Islamabad and during the ensuing melee five of them were killed; how the rioting spread from Pakistan to India, in the end resulting in a total of nineteen dead and 150 or so wounded; how on February 14 the Ayatollah Khomeini joined the fray, sentencing Salman Rushdie to death and offering a reward of both money and heaven to whoever carried out the sentence; and how, finally, Rushdie was forced by this threat into hiding under the protection of the British authorities, where it seems likely he will have to remain for a very long time: given the state of things, even the Ayatollah's death may not make the world a much safer place for him. What made the story so startling, of course, was the idea that a literary exercise could set off riots and a thoroughly believable death threat.

Writing as a Jew
by Hanoch Bartov
Like most people, most writers are anything but Jews. And most Jews are not what you would call writers. Yet for those relatively few of us who happen to be both, the question of the writer as a Jew, and the Jew as a writer, can lead to fascinating if also, sometimes, frustrating exercises in self-definition. For one thing, when we say “Jewish writer,” do we all have the same thing in mind? Wherein lies the Jew in the Jewish writer? On the final page of Philip Roth's novel, The Counterlife, the writer Nathan Zuckerman, an American Jew living among Gentiles in London, defines himself thus: A Jew without Jews, without Judaism, without Zionism, without Jewishness, without a temple or an army or even a pistol, a Jew clearly without a home, just the object itself, like a glass or an apple.

A Limit to Affirmative Action?
by James Blanton
Virtually all of the people I have known in the musical world, including those I met during the years I spent as a professional musician, have been political liberals.

Tolstoy and the Pursuit of Happinesss
by Algis Valiunas
“Whenever—at whatever moment—she was asked what she was thinking about she could have answered without fail, ‘Always about my happiness and my unhappiness.’” No novelist but Tolstoy could have charged this apparently unremarkable sentence, which summarizes the preoccupations of an unfaithful wife, with so potent a current of meaning, and in Anna Karenina, a novel powered in large part by philosophical and religious speculation, no other sentence carries significance of a higher voltage.

Kaplan's Big Deal A Story
by Joseph Epstein
In those days Kaplan had an ambitious pompadour, kept aloft by Wildroot Cream Oil and a comb that he carried in his back pocket.

Where Philosophy Matters.
by Josiah Auspitz
Though our academic nomenclature preserves a view of higher education as grounded in philosophy, and of the university itself as a community of “doctors of philosophy,” rarely does a spirit of philosophical inquiry take possession of an actual institution; more rarely still is a devotion to the unity of inquiry made explicit in the cultivation of philosophy itself.

His Eminence and Hizzoner, by John Cardinal O'Connor and Mayor Edward I. Koch
by Scott McConnell
Church & City His Eminence and Hizzoner: A Candid Exchange. by John Cardinal O'Connor and Mayor Edward I. Koch. Morrow. 366 pp. $18.95. This fascinating cooperative effort by John Cardinal O'Connor, the Archbishop of New York, and Mayor Edward Koch may one day be regarded as an important historical document.

Goldwyn, by A. Scott Berg
by Jonathan Rosen
Movie Mogul Goldwyn: A Biography. by A. Scott Berg. Knopf. 579 pp. $24.95. According to a by-now familiar script, the Jewish moguls of Hollywood arrived on these shores penniless, like Joseph in Egypt; even more remarkably than the biblical Joseph, they proceeded not so much to interpret Pharaoh's dreams as to do his dreaming for him.

Why Americans Don't Vote, by Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward; Whose Votes Count?, by Abigail Thernstrom
by Barry Gross
Race & Voting Why Americans Don't Vote. by Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward. Pantheon. 325 pp. $19.95. Whose Votes Count?: Affirmative Action and Minority Voting Rights. by Abigail Thernstrom. Harvard University Press.

Unconventional Partners, by Robert Booth Fowler
by Richard Neuhaus
Unsecular America Unconventional Partners: Religion and Liberal Culture in the United States. by Robert Booth Fowler. Eerdmans. 185 pp. $12.95 (paper). Unconventional Partners is, quite simply, one of the freshest interpretations of religion and American culture to have appeared in some years.

Crashing the Gates, by Robert C. Christopher
by Peter Brimelov
The Bland Bargain Crashing the Gates: The Dewasping of America's Power Elite. by Robert C. Christopher. Simon & Schuster. 304 pp. 19.95. Robert C.

Reader Letters June 1989
by Samuel Rabinove
The Democrats TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: In his powerful, frequently per- suasive, and always well-docu- mented article, "Why the Demo- crats Lost Again" [February], Joshua Muravchik stresses the Democrats' need "to push the party back toward the Center," if they are ever to win the presidency again.

July, 1989Back to Top
The Forests & the Trees
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Peter Shaw's article, “Apocalypse Again” [April], omits two very important considerations in the tenacious and tendentious propagation of predictions of imminent catastrophe.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: COMMENTARY has provided a service to the intellectual community in printing Daniel Seligman's thoughtful, informative review of The IQ Controversy: The Media and Public Policy by Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman [Books in Review, March]. Just as the careful work of Arthur Jensen twenty years ago was denounced for being politically incorrect, Snyderman and Rothman's study of the public response to the results of such psychometric testing is—surprise!—being ignored by the very media whose bias they document.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: I wish L. Gordon Crovitz, in his article, “The Least Responsive Branch” [March], had got in a few licks at the General Accounting Office, an overstaffed legion of congressional minions who have a year-'round fishing license in the executive branch.

T.S. Eliot
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “What Was T.S. Eliot?” [March], Robert Alter takes a cynical view of Eliot's conversion to Christianity. But it should not surprise us that T.S.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Norman Podhoretz is quite right in his “Israel: A Lamentation From the Future” [March]. There is a division within Israel that has spilled over into the Diaspora, affecting at least those of us who care deeply about Israel.

How the PLO Was Legitimized
by Jeane Kirkpatrick
Some leaders win power through inheritance, some through elections, some through civil war or coup d'état. Yasir Arafat and the PLO are trying something different.

Gorbachev's Strategy, and Ours
by Edward Luttwak
As we watch the glasnost-perestroika express train advancing into the unknown, we need not refuse the profound satisfaction that liberalizations already achieved must give us, or renounce hopeful expectations of greater liberalizations to come, in order to focus soberly on the problem that Mikhail Gorbachev's new course presents for Western strategy.

The Curious Case of Chemical Warfare
by Michael Ledeen
On the first of March of this year, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, William Webster, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, quietly observed that the spread of chemical weapons threatens to change the strategic balance in the Middle East.

Demystifying the French Revolution
by David Gress
On July 14, France will celebrate, with considerable pomp and circumstance, the bicentennial of the French Revolution, or, more precisely, of that revolution's central symbolic event, the capture of the Bastille fortress and prison by a mob of hungry Parisians looking for bread and guns. The Bastille represented the authority and repressive power of the government; the victorious mob represented the will and needs of a people determined henceforth to take the fate of the nation into its own hands.

Public Opinion and the Jogger
by Richard Brookhiser
The New York Times is not the paper of record on crime. In the division of labor that controls newspaper reporting in New York City, the three tabloids—the Daily News, the Post, and Newsday— cover local crime.

Still Taking the Fifth
by David Horowitz
More than a decade ago, when I was already in my late thirties, I received a visit in California from an elderly woman whom I shall call Emily, the mother of my best childhood friend.

A Major Israeli Novel
by Alan Mintz
During the first fifteen years following World War II, the Holocaust did not figure as a major theme in serious works of Israeli literary art.

From That Place and Time, by Lucy S. Dawidowicz
by Donna Rifkind
In Memory of Vilna From That Place and Time: A Memoir 1938-1947. by Lucy S. Dawidowicz. Norton. 333 pp. $21.95. Lucy S. Dawidowicz's memoir is at once a historical account, a story of personal development, an act of memorialization, and a tale of rescue.

The Grand Failure, by Zbigniew Brzezinski
by Whittle Johnston
Lenin's Heritage The Grand Failure: The Birth and Death of Communism in the Twentieth Century. by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Scribners. 270 pp. $19.95. In his latest book, Zbigniew Brzezinski reflects on four problems that have deeply engaged his energies for over a third of a century: the Soviet Union, the Communist world in general, totalitarianism, and possible alternatives to totalitarianism.

The Democratic Imperative, by Gregory A. Fossedal
by David Brock
Indiscriminate Judgments The Democratic Imperative: Exporting the American Revolution. by Gregory A. Fossedal. A New Republic Book/Basic Books. 293 pp. $19.95. The Democratic Imperative is one of the more sweeping interventionist broadsides in memory, urging the use of any and every lever at our disposal to implant democratic institutions and free-market capitalism everywhere.

ProfScam, by Charles J. Sykes
by Thomas Short
Higher Education? ProfScam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education. by Charles J. Sykes. Regnery Gateway. 304 pp. $18.95. ProfScam is muckraking journalism; the muck has never been better, but the raking is not always as good as it might be.

The Fettered Presidency, edited by L. Gordon Crovitz and Jeremy A. Rabkin; The Imperial Congress, edited by Gordon S. Jones and
by George Russell
Saving the Presidency The Fettered Presidency: Legal Constraints on the Executive Branch. by L. Gordon Crovitz and Jeremy A. Rabkin. American Enterprise Institute for Public Research.

Reader Letters July 1989
by Norman Podhoretz
"Lamentation" TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Norman Podhoretz is quite right in his "Israel: A Lamentation From the Future" [March]. There is a division within Israel that has spilled over into the Diaspora, af- fecting at least those of us who care deeply about Israel.

August, 1989Back to Top
Civil Rights & the CP
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joshua Muravchik has written an important critical review of Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63 [Books in Review, April].

Portrait of a Liberal
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Three cheers and three cheers more for Midge Decter's article, “The Professor and the L-Word” [February]. Clever, insightful, and long-overdue, the article exposes academic cant and chutzpah.

The Cuban Missiles
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Patrick Glynn has effectively debunked the revisionist view of the Cuban missile crisis purveyed by McGeorge Bundy and others who seek to disparage the political importance of U.S.

The Jewish Vote
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Milton Himmelfarb believes that George Bush should have been the preferred candidate among Jews in 1988 [“American Jews: Diehard Conservatives,” April].

Doves & Hawks
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I enjoyed reading of John Updike's feelings about the Vietnam era, and I admire him for having had the courage not to yield to the misguided current of opinion predominant, then and now, in his milieu [“On Not Being a Dove,” March].

The Dangers Beyond Containment
by Patrick Glynn
Since the dawn of the 20th century, Western societies have recurrently passed through periods when they imagined that the problems of international politics had either been solved or were imminently on their way to solution.

Gorbachev's Cultural Revolution
by Charles Fairbanks,
What is going on in the Soviet Union? There have been astonishing changes. But in the very same areas we see elements familiar from totalitarian politics as practiced decades ago.

Totalitarianism, Dead and Alive
by Stephen Miller
The current, unprecedented wave of reform and unrest in the Communist world has led many Western observers to proclaim the demise of totalitarianism.

Educated by Novels
by Joseph Epstein
On More than one occasion in recent years, usually in conversation with quite intelligent people who report to me that they have stopped reading fiction, I have found myself claiming to have been educated by novels.

Impeachment by Other Means
by Terry Eastland
The recent conclusion of the trial of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North provides as good an occasion as any to take stock of a remarkable federal law whose influence is increasingly felt in today's Washington.

Israel: Some Surprising Polls
by Mitchell Bard
For well over a year, Americans have been reading every morning about the mounting casualty toll in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while seeing on the evening televison news pictures of Israeli soldiers chasing, beating, and shooting Palestinians, especially young men and children.

Mr. Yankee Goes Home
by Arturo Cruz,
In my hometown of Granada in Nicaragua, the great radio show of the 60's belonged to Julio Vivas Benard; his program began at 7 A.M.

Professor of Terror
by Edward Alexander
Since the intifada began in December 1987, scores of Palestinian Arabs have been murdered by other Arabs as “collaborators” with Israel.

Territory of Lies, by Wolf Blitzer
by Eliot Cohen
The Pollard Case Territory of Lies: The Exclusive Story of Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American Who Spied on His Country for Israel—And How He Was Betrayed. by Wolf Blitzer. Harper & Row.

Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism, by Dennis King
by Harvey Klehr
The Extremist Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism. by Dennis King. Doubleday. 415 pp. $19.95. Twenty years ago Lyndon LaRouche was teaching classes in dialectical materialism at the New York Free School, preparing members of the left-wing Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to seize political power.

Byzantium: The Early Centuries, by John Julius Norwich
by Jaroslav Pelikan
New Rome Byzantium: The Early Centuries. by John Julius Norwich. Knopf. 408 pp. $29.95. In one of those eminently quotable and hopelessly prejudiced assessments of which he was such a master, Edward Gibbon in Chapter 53 of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire described “the reproach and shame” of the Byzantine empire, “a degenerate people”: They held in their lifeless hands the riches of their fathers, without inheriting the spirit which had created and improved that sacred patrimony; they read, they praised, they compiled, but their languid souls seemed alike incapable of thought and action.

The Jewish Way, by Irving Greenberg
by David Singer
The Leap of Action The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays. by Irving Greenberg. Summit Books. 463 pp. $22.95. Can the Orthodox religious tradition speak to contemporary Jews? The answer, of course, is yes, provided they are willing to listen.

Barbarian Sentiments, by William Pfaff
by Richard Neuhaus
America in the World Barbarian Sentiments: How the American Century Ends. by William Pfaff. Hill and Wang. 198 pp. $19.95. Born sixty years ago in Iowa, William Pfaff has traveled far from home.

Reader Letters August 1989
by Milton Himmelfarb
Doves & Hawks TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: I enjoyed reading of John Up- dike's feelings about the Vietnam era, and I admire him for having had the courage not to yield to the misguided current of opinion pre- dominant, then and now, in his milieu ["On Not Being a Dove," March] ... It makes me a bit uncomfortable, however, that the clarity of Mr. Updike's vision in 1966-when he favored U.S.

September, 1989Back to Top
Law and Literature
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Peter Shaw's review of Richard A. Posner's book, Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation [Books in Review, May], makes precisely the mistake that Posner commits: both assume that there is a single law-and-literature movement.

Jewish Variants
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In reviewing Members of the Tribe: On the Road in Jewish America, by Ze'ev Chafets [Books in Review, April], Edward Alexander repeats a bizarre characterization of the “leftist” New Israel Fund as an organization aiming to transform Israel into a country that “would meet the approval of the ACLU, the Nation magazine, and the Sierra Club.” As described throughout our publications, and in my interview with Chafets, the mission of the New Israel Fund is to help Israelis strengthen the democratic character of that nation—to be a state “based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel,” an Israel that will “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex.” Not the liberal vision of an American Jew from New York, these words are drawn from Israel's Declaration of Independence and reflect the best of Zionism as well as the goals of the New Israel Fund. It is a frightening sign of the times that an organization dedicated to such goals is called “leftist” and that helping Israelis to narrow the inevitable gap between promise and practice is seen by Chafets as a naive imposition of American values.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “A New Look at Prokofiev” [April], Samuel Lipman says that Prokofiev's opera War and Peace has never been produced in the U.S.

El Salvador
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Elliott Abrams claims too much credit for the Reagan administration in El Salvador [“The Deal in Central America,” May].

“Who is a Jew”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The article by Edward Norden, “Behind ‘Who Is a Jew’” [April], is—for me, at least—the most illuminating I have ever read in COMMENTARY.

The Campus: “An Island of Repression In a Sea of Freedom”
by Chester Finn,
The Campus: “An Island of Repression In a Sea of Freedom” by Chester E. Finn, Jr. Two weeks before the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects one's right to burn the flag, the regents of the University of Wisconsin decreed that students on their twelve campuses no longer possess the right to say anything ugly to or about one another.

Charging Israel With Original Sin
by Shabtai Teveth
A trend has recently emerged in Israel and elsewhere to rewrite the history of the founding of the Jewish state.

Boredom, Virtue, and Democratic Capitalism
by Michael Novak
Late in May of this anniversary year of a the French Revolution of 1789, Chinese students in Shanghai, openly defying a Communist regime, carried before them a white plaster replica of the Statue of Liberty.

Strictly Movie
by Daniel Fuchs
One day a while ago I was back in Beverly Hills, where I had lived for more than thirty years, and on an impulse, since I was in the area, I decided to drop in on my old agent.

Britain: Under the Iron (High) Heel?
by John O'Sullivan
Is liberty in Britain—and especially freedom of speech and of the press—under threat from an authoritarian government and a domineering Prime Minister? This is an allegation made with increasing certitude by British politicians, writers, and journalists of a Left-liberal inclination, and listened to with increasing horror by liberal Anglophiles on this side of the Atlantic.

Jewish Mysticism in Dispute
by Robert Alter
The daunting achievement of Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) poses a certain quandary for the evolution of subsequent scholarship. His studies of Jewish mysticism, from the early rabbinic period through the medieval Kabbalah to the Hasidism of the 18th and 19th centuries, are so comprehensive and searching, so intellectually compelling, that it might appear as though further investigations in the field would be no more than a series of elaborate footnotes to his trailblazing work.

The Long Road to Freedom, by Walter Laqueur
by Arch Puddington
The Future of the USSR The Long Road to Freedom: Russia and Glasnost. by Walter Laqueur. Scribners. 325 pp. $21.95. The massacre at Tiananmen Square is a compelling reminder that Communism, long believed to be a highly stable system, is in fact extremely volatile, especially in periods of change.

From Beirut to Jerusalem, by Thomas L. Friedman
by Daniel Pipes
Foreign Correspondent From Beirut to Jerusalem. by Thomas L. Friedman. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 525 pp. $22.95. Like many other Americans interested in the Middle East, I became aware of Thomas L.

Sketches from a Life, by George F. Kennan
by Peter Brimelow
The Stopped Clock Sketches from a Life. by George F. Kennan. Pantheon. 369 pp. $22.95. “Kennan—a Prophet Honored” was the headline over Mary McGrory's Washington Post column on George F.

Rites of Spring, by Modris Eksteins; The Modern World, by Malcolm Bradbury
by Jonathan Rosen
Dance of Death Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age. by Modris Eksteins. Houghton Mifflin. 396 pp.

The Enigma of Japanese Power, by Karel van Wolferen; More Like Us, by James Fallows; Yen!, by Daniel Burstein; Japanese Investme
by George Russell
The Japanese Challenge The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation. by Karel Van Wolferen. Knopf. 496 pp. $25.95. More Like Us: Making America Great Again. by James Fallows. Houghton Mifflin.

Reader Letters September 1989
by Leon Poliakov
"Who Is a Jew" TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: The article by Edward Norden, "Behind 'Who Is a Jew"' [April], is-for me, at least-the most il- luminating I have ever read in COMMENTARY.

October, 1989Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his otherwise sound review of Abigail Thernstrom's Whose Votes Count? [Books in Review, June], Barry R. Gross mistakenly identifies L.

The Unborn
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his review of Clifford Grobstein's Science and the Unborn: Choosing Human Futures [Books in Review, May] Richard John Neuhaus summarizes Grobstein as follows: “The status (as opposed to the humanness) of the unborn is not something that is ‘there,' which we are then obliged to respect and protect.

Drugs and Youth
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joseph Adelson's “Drugs and Youth” [May] convincingly exposes the presuppositions underlying most of the drug-education and “family-health” programs in our schools.

Israel's Future
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I recently read Norman Podhoretz's brilliant and incisive article, “Israel: A Lamentation From the Future” [March], as well as the letters in response to it [July].

The French Revolution
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his article, “Demystifying the French Revolution” [July], David Gress misrepresents a central theme of Simon Schama's Citizens by implying that Schama supports the thesis of a premeditatedly anti-capitalist French Revolution.

The Rushdie Affair
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “The Ayatollah, the Novelist, and the West” [June], Daniel Pipes, writing from an American point of view, notes the threat to our values from the militant fundamentalists of Islam and says only that our response depends more on us than on them.

What to Do About the Schools
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “A Nation Still at Risk” [May], Chester E. Finn, Jr. correctly concludes that American schools are still in deep trouble.

Hastening the Death of Communism
by Jean-François Revel
What policy should the democracies adopt toward the Communist world at this stage of its evolution? Toward what end should such a policy be directed? Ever since Communism came upon the global scene, Western analysts have persisted in seeing change where there has been no real change.

A False Start in the Middle East
by Eugene Rostow
The morgues of newspapers are filled with reports on plans which successive American administrations had hoped would produce peace between Israel and its neighbors: the Rogers Plan, the Vance Plan, the Shultz Plan, and a number of equally futile European initiatives as well.

On Being a Jew
by Sidney Hook
Although Sidney Hook wrote hundreds of books and articles in the course of his great career as a philosopher and political controversialist, he devoted relatively little attention either to his own Jewishness or to issues of specifically Jewish concern.

Flag-Burning & Other Modes of Expression
by Walter Berns
Summer brought no peace to Washington. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the issue of abortion went back to the states whence it had come sixteen years earlier.

The Politics of 1992
by George Szamuely
About a year ago, Margaret Thatcher went to the College of Europe in Bruges to deliver a skeptical address about developments within the European Economic Community (EEC).

The Goldin Boys A Story
by Joseph Epstein
Even though the coffin was closed, I couldn't bring myself to walk in front of it and greet the Goldin family in condolence.

Perversions of the Holocaust
by Lucy Dawidowicz
Nearly half a century has passed since the murder of the European Jews during World War II, and it might be thought that at this late date we understand fully how and why the German state under Hitler committed its terrible crimes.

Deception, by Edward Jay Epstein
by Eliot Cohen
The Dark Art Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA. by Edward Jay Epstein. Simon & Schuster. 336 pp. $19.95. Deception is a seductive subject, as any magician worth his salt knows.

A Mandate for Terror, by Harris Okun Schoenberg
by Allan Gerson
Hijacking the UN A Mandate for Terror: The United Nations and the PLO. by Harris Okun Schoenberg. Shapolsky Publishers. 570 pp. $19.95. “To avoid misunderstandings,” writes Harris Schoenberg in the preface to this important scholarly work, “I wish to stress that while I find much that is wrong with the United Nations in the late 1980's, even beyond its legitimization of international terrorism, I am committed .

My Song Is My Weapon, by Robbie Lieberman
by Ronald Radosh
Ballads for Americans My Song Is My Weapon: People's Songs, American Communism, and the Politics of Culture, 1930-50. by Robbie Lieberman. University of Illinois Press.

War, by Paul Seabury and Angelo Codevilla
by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Preserving the Peace War: Ends and Means. by Paul Seabury and Angelo Codevilla. Basic Books. 306 pp. $19.95. American political culture lacks a discriminating discourse on the nature of war, its varieties, its causes and purposes, its uses as an instrument of policy.

A World of Ideas, by Bill Moyers
by James Gardner
The Thinker as Everyman A World of Ideas. by Bill Moyers. Doubleday. 513 pp. $29.95. A World of Ideas, the series of interviews that Bill Moyers conducted on PBS last winter, has now been gathered together in book form.

Free Persons and the Common Good, by Michael Novak
by Terry Eastland
Republican Virtues Free Persons and the Common Good. by Michael Novak. Madison Books. 233 pp. $17.95. The question this book addresses is profound: can a free society have a common good? Michael Novak maintains not simply that the two are not incompatible but that, properly understood, they fit together naturally.

Reader Letters October 1989
by Richard Neuhaus
What to Do About the Schools TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: In "A Nation Still at Risk" [May], Chester E. Finn, Jr. correct- ly concludes that American schools are still in deep trouble.

November, 1989Back to Top
The Forests
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . In the July issue, answering a letter concerning his article “Apocalypse Again” [April], Peter Shaw writes: “Estimates of how much forest there is in the world vary from approximately 2lA million to approximately 6 million hectares.” The South American rain forest alone covers an area of 250 million hectares.

Thought and Deed
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his review of Irving Green-berg's new book, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays [Books in Review, August], David Singer criticizes Greenberg for sidestepping the question of faith.

Pulblic Opinion Polls
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Mitchell Bard, in “Israel: Some Surprising Polls” [August], seems unduly puzzled by the fact that television reports on the intifida have not led to losses in support for Israel in public-opinion polls, although at one point he speculates that the “blatantly one-sided coverage of the intifada in American media may have backfired some what.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Terry Eastland's excellent discussion of special prosecutors in the post-Watergate era, “Impeachment by Other Means” [August], has one serious flaw.

The Pollard Case
by Our Readers
To the Editor: When I read Eliot A. Cohen's review of Wolf Blitzer's book, Territory of Lies, it sounded familiar [Books in Review, August].

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joseph Epstein's discussion of the shortcomings of current literary studies is brilliant [“Educated by Novels,” August]. I read the article twice, then I read it aloud to my wife, then I made copies of it and sent them to numerous colleagues who, I hope, will take time from their Barthes and Derrida (of late they have stopped reading Paul De Man), to consider Mr.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Jeane J. Kirkpatrick's article, “How the PLO Was Legitimized” [July], describes not only the PLO's political successes but, by implication, Israel and America's political defeats. Israel must learn that not all battles involve a clash of arms, that it must take the political struggle as seriously as it does the military.

Gorbachev & Germany
by Our Readers
To the Editor: It would be nice to believe that Patrick Glynn's cogent warnings against starry-eyed optimism in current public discourse on U.S.-Soviet relations will be accepted, and that realism will prevail in discussions of Soviet foreign policy [“The Dangers Beyond Containment,” August].

Gorbachev & the U.S.
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., in “Gorbachev's Cultural Revolution” [August], reminds us once again that our side has still to work out a coherent response to the “new thinking” in the Soviet Union.

Is the West Bank a Vital American Interest?
by Daniel Pipes
Analysts of the Arab-Israeli conflict agree on very few issues, but there are two points on which, in 1989, a consensus exists virtually across the mainstream spectrum.

Toward a Real Restoration of Civil Rights
by Terry Eastland
In 1989 the Supreme Court ruled in a series of cases involving racial discrimination and civil rights. The cases ran the gamut, involving a variety of different laws and issues.

What Glasnost Has Destroyed
by Leon Aron
Soviet society is in a state of spiritual turmoil for which there is no precedent in its entire history. A comparison with the Khrushchev years is valid but insufficient: the passion, the bluntness, the consistency, and, most importantly, the depth and the scope of the upheaval under Mikhail Gorbachev go far beyond anything that happened between 1956 and 1964.

Anti-Semitism and Jewish Identity
by Michael Meyer
Anti-semitism in the modern world has been a major influence in shaping Jewish identity. Its effect has been ambiguous, and not clearly predictable in each instance.

Remembering Sidney Hook
by Joseph Epstein
Although Sidney Hook, who died this past summer at the age of eighty-six, contributed a number of important articles to the American Scholar, the magazine I edit; although we corresponded fairly frequently and would speak by telephone every so often; and although we met on two separate occasions, I am reasonably certain that, had we passed on the street, Sidney would not have recognized me. One of those two occasions was the evening of October 30, 1982, at a dinner given to honor Sidney on his eightieth birthday.

Of Time and Poetry
by Dan Jacobson
Aliterary work of any depth arises from experiences which are hard to comprehend and articulate. In the act of composition these are transformed, for the writer himself as well as for the reader, into an experience of quite a different order: namely, into the experience of the story or poem or play. The distinction appears elementary enough.

Anatomy of an Execution
by Arturo Cruz,
The afternoon light was beginning to fail when Fidel Castro arrived at his office in the Palace of the Revolution.

A Turning of the Critical Tide?
by Carol Iannone
A major strategy in the current assault on the integrity of art from within the literary world has been the denial of the possibility of transcendence.

The Second Shift, by Arlie Hochschild
by Charlotte Allen
Who Scrubs the Tub? The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at home. by by Arlie Hoch Schild With Anne Machung. Viking.

Mad Dreams, Saving Graces, by Michael.T. Kaufman
by Arch Puddington
The Rise of Solidarity Mad Dreams, Saving Graces: Poland: A Nation in Conspiracy. by Michael T. Kaufman. Random House. 267 pp. $19.95 Michael T.

Jewish-Christian Dialogue, by David Novak
by David Singer
Faith & Interfaith Jewish-christian Dialogue: A Jewish Justification. by David Novak. Oxford University Press. 194 pp. $24.95 Interfaith discussions between Christians and Jews—in professional jargon, “the dialogue”—have hit upon hard times.

Modern Chile, 1970-1989, by Mark Falcoff
by David Brock
The Fall of Allende Modern Chile, 1970-1989: A Critical History. by Mark Falcoff. Transaction. 325 pp. $32.95. “The election of Salvador Allende as president of Chile in 1970 not only capped a long rise in the political fortunes of the Left in that country but also raised hopes for popular-front electoral triumphs elsewhere in the Americas and in Western Europe.

Straight Shooting, by John Silber
by Chester Finn,
Idea Man Straight Shooting: What'S Wrongwith America and How to Fix It. by John Silber. Harper ir Row. 336 pp. $22.50 The typical college president today is a mild and colorless person with vague but leftish ideas, a product both of the contemporary academic culture and of a search-and-selection process that confers veto power on a hundred campus factions.

Reader Letters November 1989
by Irvin Stock
Gorbachev & the U.S. TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., in "Gorbachev's Cultural Revolu- tion" [August], reminds us once again that our side has still to work out a coherent response to the "new thinking" in the Soviet Union.

December, 1989Back to Top
German Reunification
by Our Readers
To the Editor: With his article, “The Dangers Beyond Containment” [August], Patrick Glynn has rendered a valuable service by pointing to dangers in Europe that have long been ignored by the media.

Communism in Decline
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . In this year of upheaval, we have been treated to articles on “the end of history,” “life without Communists,” “the disintegration of totalitarianism,” “the end of the cold war,” “the grand failure of Communism”—yet without any clear sense of what the West, the acknowledged winner in this historic moment, should do.

“Professor of Terror”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I am appalled by “Professor of Terror,” Edward Alexander's diatribe against Edward Said [August]. To portray Said as a devotee of terrorist politics is a gross distortion of his life's work as a scholar and militant.

“Affirmative Action”: A Worldwide Disaster
by Thomas Sowell
Arguments for and against “affirmative action” have raged for about twenty years in the United States. Similar arguments have provoked controversy—and even bloodshed—for a longer or a shorter period, in the most disparate societies, scattered around the world.

Between Passovers
by Ruth Wisse
The miracle of Passover was renewed for our family when my parents decided to make their own seder in 1941.

Does the Piano Have a Future?
by Samuel Lipman
I am now fifty-five years old. I have been playing the piano for the last fifty-two years, and I suppose that in some way I shall continue to play it for as long as—or perhaps even for a bit longer than—my fingers are able to move.

The Intellectuals & the Cold War
by George Szamuely
In May 1967, acting on motives that to this day remain mysterious, Tom Braden, who in the early 1950's had been head of the International Organizations Division of the CIA (and would subsequently earn a sort of celebrity as the voice “from the Left” on CNN's nightly talk show, Crossfire), boasted in the pages of the Saturday Evening Post that the CIA had been directly involved in the work of an organization of liberal anti-Communist intellectuals known as the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and especially in the funding of its distinguished London-based monthly magazine, Encounter. This news, coming on top of earlier revelations of CIA involvement with the National Student Association, had the results one might have expected.

Reclaiming Yeats
by Robert Richman
The decision to publish a fourteen-volume Collected Works of W. B. Yeats—designed to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his death—may help reclaim a poet who has become more or less the property of the universities.

Warrior, by Ariel Sharon with David Chanoff
by Eliot Cohen
Arik Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon. by Ariel Sharon with David Chanoff. Simon & Schuster. 571 pp. $24.95. One comes to this book with many suspicions.

Prisoners of a Dream, by Leo Raditsa
by Richard Neuhaus
Terrorism in Southern Africa Prisoners of a Dream: The South African Mirage. Historical Essay on the Denton Hearings. by Leo Raditsa. Prince George Street Press.

Danube, by Claudio Magris
by Jonathan Rosen
Dreamscape Danube: A Journey through the Landscape, History, and Culture of Central Europe. by Claudio Magris. Farrar Straus & Giroux. 416 pp. $22.95. The Danube is an excellent subject for a book, especially today when the question of Central European independence, political and cultural, has been raised with renewed fervor.

The War Against the Intellect, by Peter Shaw
by Michael Neth
In the Academy The War Against the Intellect: Episodes in the Decline of Discourse. by Peter Shaw. University of Iowa Press. 181 pp.

The Jews in the Soviet Union Since 1917, by Nora Levin; The Jews of the Soviet Union, by Benjamin Pinkus
by Richard Pipes
The Tragedy of Soviet Jewry The Jews in the Soviet Union Since 1917. by Nora Levin. New York University Press. 2 vols. 1,013 pp.

Reader Letters December 1989
by Edward Alexander
"Professor of Terror" TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: I am appalled by "Professor of Terror," Edward Alexander's dia- tribe against Edward Said [Au- gust].

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.