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The Essence of Evil
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The Essence of Evil

Susan Jacoby: Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge; Harper & Row; New York.

Joe McGinniss: Fatal Vision; G. P. Putnam’s Sons; New York.

 These two very different books are linked by a common theme—coping with evil. Jacoby presents

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Scholarly Smut

Peter Gay: Education of the Senses, Volume I of the Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud; Oxford University Press; New York

 When Brantôme in the 16th century wrote a rather spicy Life of Great Ladies, or Samuel Pepys, in the

A Telltale Heart
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A Telltale Heart

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer: The Madness of a Seduced Woman; E. P. Dutton; New York.

 The specter of solipsism has long haunted the romantic temperament, and romantic eros in particular. The sense that one’s self is the locus and source

Horrors in the Age of Disbelief
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Horrors in the Age of Disbelief

Stephen King: Pet Sematary; Doubleday; New York.

 If it is true that popular literature, in however unexamined a fashion, em­bodies many of the presuppositions of an age, then the last decade and a half’s spate of supernatural shockers raises

Consequences of Misused Terminology
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Consequences of Misused Terminology

Dennis Prager and Joseph Te­lushkin: Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism; Simon & Schuster; New York.

 The authors identify “the first re­corded reference to Jews in non-Jewish sources” as a report an Egyptian king caused to be written

From Nonsense to Understanding
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From Nonsense to Understanding

Who Were The Fascists: Social Roots of European Fascism; Edited by Stein Ugelvik Larsen, Bernt Hagtvet, and Jan Petter Myklebust; Distributed by Columbia University Press; New York.

Richard F. Hamilton: Who Voted for Hitler?; Princeton University Press; Princeton, NJ.

 Who

Dreams of Avarice
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Dreams of Avarice

Ivan Fallon and James Srodes: Dream Maker: The Rise and Fall of John Z. Delorean; G. P. Putnam’s Sons; New York.

Elizabeth Drew: Politics and Money: The New Road to Corrup­tion; Macmillan; New York.

 Ethics in America,

Maturing (& Remembering) in Print
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Maturing (& Remembering) in Print

Sam Holman by James T. Farrell Prometheus Books; Buffalo, NY.

Achieving self-definition through self-division is a truly impossible mission, but the cordless ego of contemporary liberalism continues to try to repopulate the world with its own image. That the result

The Crisis of Controlled Thinking
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The Crisis of Controlled Thinking

A General’s Life by Omar N. Bradley and Clay Blair; Simon and Schuster; New York.

General of the Army Omar N. Bradley’s military career spanned a half-century of dramatic change for the United States. When he entered West Point in

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Video Clones

Television created a subgenre of music a few years ago that can be designated as “artificial, nonexistent, techno-pop,” which must be differentiated from the succeeding, garden variety of techno-pop aired today by the human/machine combinations known as the Eurythmics, Flock

The Victory of Unvanquished Losers
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The Victory of Unvanquished Losers

The Passionate War: The Narrative History of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 by Peter Wyden; Simon and Schuster; New York.

History has not been kind to the radical left, not because modern revolutions have invariably failed, but because they have

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Old & Old as New

Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans, LA; Volume II.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans, LA; Volume III

Linda Ronstadt and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra; What’s New; Electra/Asylum Records.

On the back cover of Volume

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Images, images, ima…

The Work of Atget: The Ancient Re gime; The Museum of Modern Art; New York.

Bill Harris: New York at Night; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; New York.

Robert Freson: The Taste of France; Stewart, Tabori & Chang;

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The Ring and the Brush

Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze by Norman Bryson; Yale University Press; New Haven, CT.

Western painting—at least that which was produced before the advent, or onslaught, of photography in the 19th century—shares a characteristic with a trinket

Of Death and Diapers
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Of Death and Diapers

Our Endangered Children: Growing Up in a Changing World by Vance Packard; Little, Brown; Boston.

Who Will Take the Children? A New Custody Option for Divorcing Mothers—and Fathers by Susan Meyers and Joan Lakin; Bobbs-Merrill; Indianapolis.

Secular liberalism is the

The Remnants of Realism
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The Remnants of Realism

Philip Roth: The Anatomy Lesson; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; New York.

Louis Auchincloss: Exit Lady Masham; Houghton Mifflin; Boston.

In the opinion of Tom Wolfe, “the introduction of realism into literature…was like the introduction of electricity into machine technology. It

Fads, Facts & Fools
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Fads, Facts & Fools

The Fifth Generation: Artificial Intelligence and Japan’s Computer Challenge to the World by Edward A. Feigenbaum and Pamela McCorduck; Addison-Wesley; Reading, MA.

The Rise of the Computer State by David Burnham; Random House; New York.

A few years ago, CB

Knuckling Under & Soaring Free
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Knuckling Under & Soaring Free

Border Crossing: The West and Russian Identity in Soviet Literature 1917-1934 by Carol Avlns; University of California Press; Berkeley.

Poems by Anna Akhmatova, Selected and translated by Lyn Coffin; W. W. Norton; New York.

In Border Crossings Carol Avins, associate

Schizophrenia & Politics
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Schizophrenia & Politics

The Confidence Gap: Business, Labor, and Government in the Public Mind by Seymour Martin Lipset and William Schneider; The Free Press; New York.

” American public opinion,” Theodore Roosevelt once said, “is a vast ocean. It cannot be stirred with

Multiple-Choice Quandaries
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Multiple-Choice Quandaries

The necessity of choosing is a fact of life. At even a tender age, one must choose between a doll or a tea set, a wagon or a tricycle, Captain Crunch or Frosted Flakes. As one becomes older, the choices

Liberal Culture – Neo-Salvation
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Liberal Culture – Neo-Salvation

At a recent gathering in San Francisco, the National Council of Churches considered an application for membership from the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, which teaches that homosexuality is “a gift from God.” Most of the 27,000 members of

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Diplomacy and Fatuity

Lately our national leaders seem to have taken it into their heads that their first obligation upon taking office is to get ready to write their memoirs once they leave it. We’ve had Nixon’s and Johnson’s, Kissinger’s massive volumes, and

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Cracked Crystal Balls

The forecasters have had a bad year. That uncertainty of acuity that charac­terizes those who predict the weather has long been obvious; the predictions of their brethren in the field of econom­ics are similarly infamous. President Reagan’s economic policies were

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Twisting & Turning Totalitarianism

As the year in which George Orwell’s masterpiece was set approached, a wave of critics, eulogists, and scavengers emerged. 1984 is a work hard to attack directly, though that has been done, and some who profess to be praising Orwell’s

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Where’s the Baking Soda?

Nora Ephron is a genius at turning her personal life in to cash. In her essays, which she has collected in previous vol­umes, she has taken us to events and places including her college reunion, therapy group, and her amniocentesis.

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Erasing Mason-Dixon

The South has an enduring status as a region somewhat separate from the main thrust of American life. The tension be­tween agrarian and commercial impulses in American society, epitomized by the yeomen idealized in Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State

Catastrophic Chic
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Catastrophic Chic

The wave of articles and books concerning  nuclear-weapons policy has reached flood stage since 1981 in the wake of the protests launched by the born-again peace movement. The timing of this effort provokes suspicion. It is hard to take seriously

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Bouillabaisse by Ear

Years before many Americans noticed him, France’s socialist president made a career while provoking contrary senti­ments. He evidently prefers not to be understood. Conservatives governing America must nonetheless decide what to think about a ruler who supports us and

In Focus – Politicians of Piety
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In Focus – Politicians of Piety

Upon his return from convers­ing with God upon the top of Sinai, Moses began the work of reclaiming straying Israel by de­manding, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Upon their return from ecclesiastical conferences held at somewhat lower altitudes and

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Strange Gods

For most modem Westerners, the word idolatry conjures images of dis­tant lands or times: saffron-clothed Oriental monks prostrate before golden Buddhas, ancient Aztec priests plunging their daggers into helpless virgins atop monumental temples, or iniquitous Israelites cavorting before Aaron’s golden

The Diaphanous Bud
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The Diaphanous Bud

There are innumerable ways to ap­proach The Name of the Rose. Its author, Umberto Eco, is an Italian, a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna. The book is a best-seller in Italy, France, Germany, and here; it has

Avoiding Questions
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Avoiding Questions

ThAmericaNoveand the Way We Live Now is a gem, one of those con­cise little books that coruscate with gleaming wisdom and flashes of insight. As the title suggests, it is a study of cer­tain

Liberal Culture – The New Higher Criticism
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Liberal Culture – The New Higher Criticism

Among all those courageous spirits who forsook religious and traditional norms in favor of the beatific self-fulfillment promised by the sexual revolution, the names of William Masters and Virginia Johnson have long been invoked with deep reverence. As one sexologist

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Exceptional Insight

As a distinctively modern genre, the short story does not require any earth-straddling heroes, merely ordinary people. It does require, however, an author with extraordinary perception of how small events may reveal a spark of the transcendent–or a shadow of

Waste of Money – Cape Cod Babble
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Waste of Money – Cape Cod Babble

In his last novel, The Orchids, Mr. Cook wrote about nazis. His latest production, Tabernacle, concerns itself with a group of people he evidently finds just as awful: the Mormons. A resident of Cape Cod, Mr. Cook obviously hasn’t spent

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Commendables – A Man Apart

Jorge Luis Borges once ob­served that ideally–given an omniscient observer–”an inde­finite, and almost infinite” num­ber of biographies could be writ­ten about a man, including “the genealogical biography, the economic biography, the psychiat­ric biography, the surgical biog­raphy, the topographical biog­raphy.” These

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Recycling Refuse

What do Groucho Marx, Lech Walesa, Oriana Fallaci, Johnny Carson, Ted Patrick, G. Gordon Liddy, Jean-Paul Sartre, Henry Fonda, his daughter Jane and son-in-law Tom Hayden, Ed Koch, Roman Polanski, Robert Redford, Salvador Dali, William Shockley, Robert Garwood, Ayn Rand,

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Commendables – Subtlety vs. Six-Guns

In 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair, Frederick Jackson Turner created a landmark in American historiography by articulating his thesis that the frontier ex­perience had produced “the forces dominating American character.” Especially during the last 20 years, many historians have

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Making Hay with the Southern Sun

Posthumously, William Faulkner has achieved a celebrity that, if we take him at his word, he despised and eschewed, but which seems inseparable from modem commercial culture. Every second man in the street, who can’t remember who is currently Vice-President,

Of Communists and Marxists
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Of Communists and Marxists

Maurice Isserman is one of the more resilient members of the radical genera­tion that came of age during the 1960’s. Although his apocalyptic ambitions were frustrated, he refused to succumb to gloom, setting out instead in search of a “tradition

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Missives About Man

Today we hear a great deal about culture. To judge from what we read, it can be almost anything and can be unearthed almost anywhere. There are, for example, physical, pop, ethnic, reli­gious, aesthetic, academic, folk, popular, teenage, European, Latin,