The essay is remarkable in that itnwas inspired by Islands in thenStream, by common consensusnone of his poorest works. Intenselynmoved, then, by thenmemories of his previous readingnof Hemingway, Price took tonheart the lesson of one master:n”Prepare,^ strip, divest for lifenthat awaits youi learn solitudenand work; see how little is latelynbut love that”nBerg’s method as editor morencommonly produces pieces likenCarolyn Forche’s “El Salvador: AnnAide-Memoire,” the worst essaynin the book. Between 1978 andn1980 Forche visited El Salvador annumber of times; she writes thisnessay to explain how politicsncame to dominate her poetry, ornas she would have it, how thenpoem is more political thannpolitics. She claims that the 20thncentury demands “a poetry ofnwitness,” by which she meansnthat “there is no such thing asnnonpoUtical poetry.” The poet’snvoice must have authority andnthis authority comes from annideologically charged vision. Alln28inChronicles of Culturenlanguage is political; hence, shenwishes to write a poetry of documentation.nThe essay is violent,njustified, I presume, in the samenway that she attempts to justifynthe rape of poetry by politics.nThe fiindamental premise of thenessay has been proved wrongnrepeatedly, especially by thenexperience of the Americannleftist writers of the 1930’s. It isnstill true that those who do notnknow the past are determined tonrepeat it. DnSubtle Siren fornthe SovietsnNuclear War in the 1980’s?;nCompiled by ChristophernChant and Ian Hogg; Harper &nRow; New York.nWhile the mark of interrogationnin the title is heartening, thenillustration on the cover is ancause of more thorough doubt: itnshows an ALCM (AGM-86), annair-launched cruise missile,ndesignated as belonging to thenU.S. Air Force, that’s zoomingnacross a mountain range, presumablynUral-like in nature.nWhile the text purports to presentn”the very latest facts andntheories” about you-know-whatn”in a clear and unbiased way,”nthere is still the question of thatncruise missile. After all, don’t thenSoviets hate those turbofanpoweredncrafts more than anythingnsince the neutron bomb?nThings become very clear verynquickly.nIn the 1950’s, not only wasnthere a great deal of attentionngiven to the then-new threat ofnnuclear war, but also to theneffects of comic books on youthfulnminds. One of the consequencesnof the latter was thenadvent of “Classic Comics,”nwhich retold tales from literaturenthrough illustrated pulp.nThe concerns of the 50’s havenbeen parlayed in this text intonvarious scenarios includingn”Surprise Attack.” It goes fromn12:00 “Early Warning Systemndetects nuclear attack” to 12:30n”Both nations wUl sufiier devastatingncasualties and urbanndestruction” in a mere ninenpanels. The whole thing amounts;nto a massive trivialization of anpossible catastrophe, but there isna more telling point to it.nWhereas the cartoon shows anfigure who is obviously RonaldnReagan, there is nowhere ansketch of whomever his Sovietncounterpart is. In addition,nanother two-page spread featuresna cutaway illustration of thenE-4B, “The Flying White House,”nbut no picture of the Politburo’snRats’ Nest. The cartoon sequencen”Command Under Fire”nshows the U.S. president turningntail and flying away. One explanationnwhy this retreat is so onesidedncan be found in the text:n”Little is known of the Soviet Cn[command, control, and communication]napparatus.” A personnmust read to glean that bit ofninformation, which is always ansensible practice when confrontingna book. But it is patentlynobvious that this book is meantnto be looked at—given the pro-nliferation of graphs, maps, charts,nand drawings all in bright colorsn—^so one who makes a perusalnmay come away believing in thenpacific nature of the Soviets.nOne series of charts, “ThennnSuperpower Armoury,” shouldnbe carefiilly consulted by any ofnthose who are ready to freezenanything other than ice cream.nWhen it comes to warheads andnequivalent megatonnage, thenU.S.S.R has the U.S. beat cold. Innthe late 1960’s and throughnmuch of the 1970’s, Americansnwere enamored of things Oriental,nfrom fragrances and febrics tonfood and fighting techniques.nSandalwood, silk, and shrimp arenstill with us. Most of the judonstudios have become mini pornontheaters. However, the conceptnthat properly placed jabs,nthrusts, and kicks can devastatenpunches, slugs, and haymakersnremains. Thus, people are lulledninto aMse sense of security herenin the U.S., thinking that ournsophisticated technology makesnus equal to the brute fijrce of thenSoviets. Chuck Norris moviesnnotwithstanding, the fact is thatnquantity still counts.nBooks that claim to be unbiasednand which smoothly slipnin the knife are the last thingsnneeded in this country. A stiffndose of—dare we say?—counterpropagandanis in order. After all,nthe Soviets aren’t building all ofnthose missiles, subs, and bombersnand maintaining a giantnmilitary machine because theynhave an overabundance of manufacturednconsumer goods andnlike to keep thefr men employed:nthere is method there, notnmerely madness. Dn