reading material on magazinenracks; perhaps some adults willntake a cue and make some furtivenglances in the juvenile section ofnbookshops. •nFrom Berlinnto BeirutnAmos Oz: In the Land ofnIsrael; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; SannDiego.nAccording to numerous speculativenhistorians and novelists,nHitler did not die in a Berlinnbunker almost 40 years ago. Henescaped, they theorize, to Braziln—or Argentina, or Paraguay, ornNew Mexico, or the SouthnPacific. Explaining away the remainsnmedically identified asnHitler’s so as to give plausibilitynto these fantasies is a task bestnleft to the experts at the NationalnEnquirer, but identifying andnevaluating the corpses of the ideasnand cultural formulations thatnwent up in flames with the fijhrer’sndefeat is a task for anyone whonwould understand the late 20thncentury. For only such philosophicalnautopsies can clarifynthe ideas and cultural developmentsnthat Hitler inadvertentlynhelped make both possible andnnecessary.nMingled with the smoke fromnHitler’s cremation were not onlynthe ashes of six million Jews asnindividuals but also of the Diasporanas a cultural and historicalnphenomenon. Out of those ashesn30inChronicles of Culturenarose the phoenix of a new nation,nIsrael, created and unifiednby the newly empowered politicalnvision of Zionism. But thenfuture of that state is now dubiousnin part because the conceptnof an ideologically unified andnmilitarily powerful nation wasnbadly scorched on the fascistnbier—at least in the West. In thenSoviet Union, where totalitarianismnwas far more firmly entrenchednthan in the Third Reichnand where anti-Semitism continuesnto be a state doctrine, thisnconcept of the armed state unitednby doctrine was carefully preservednin the fireproof safe behindnthe iron curtain. On thisnside of the curtain, however,nwhere fi-ee men had willinglynunited to defend the humanenideals defined byJudeo-Christiannethics and parliamentary tradition,nnoxious smoke from FortressnEurope stiQ gets in the eyesnof many. Indeed, now anyonenwho does not categoricallynchampion value-fi’ee pluralismnover normative conformity nornheadlong disarmament over vigilantnmight will probably bensmeared with polemical suetn(drawn in swastikas) by thosenwho do. Accordingly, with thenunbounded support of the Politbureau,nArab terrorists havensomehow persuaded somenWesterners that because Israelnhas demonstrated unity of purposenand disciplined power, itnmust therefore be “nazi.” (Nevernmind that the PLO is preparingnto complete the Holocaust.)nBut unlike its implacable foes,nIsrael is a democracy, with nonfiihrer (nor ayatollah) to lead itnin battle and no Gestapo to enforceninternal discipline. So far,nracial and cultural ties and thencommon threat of Arab aggressionnhave provided a consensusnwide enough to make democracynworkable, yet narrownenough to inculcate fightingnrigor. Judging by Amos Oz’s Innthe Land of Israel, that consensusnis unraveling. A talentednnovelist and essayist who hasnfought in two of Israel’s wars,nMr. Oz lays bare the growingntensions in Israel between Europeannand Asian Jews, religiousnand secular, right and left, intellectualsnand laborers, hawks andndoves. Ballots have ceased to bensimply esqjressions of prefoencenand have become weapons in anninternecine war: the epithetn”nazi” flies too frequently be­nOnwords & BackwordsnSamuel Beckett: WorstwordnHO; Grove Press; New York.nRaymond Federman: ThenTwofold Vibration; IndiananUniversity Press; Bloomington.nBeckett continues. Whilenthere has been a sense of endingnflrom the beginning, the pauses,nas he nears 80, seem … felt, notnstudied. Genuine. The wordsnemerge, repeat, proliferate, pressnonward, enjamb, stall, renew, yetn… are arthritic. But come. Thenman who has forever been seennas a harbinger of darkness andnvacuum here becomes transparentlynclear about the grin: WorsttuordHo.nNo exclamation mark.nStill moving toward, around, ornthrough a joke. Not Perelmannexactly. But not unlike him,neither. Beckett has loosenednthousands of words into the void.nIs it less a void when the wordsnpile up (and are buttressed bynhundreds of scholarly books andnpapers . . . and essays), or angreater one? What becomes ofnnntween Israelis. Though Mr. Oznindicts messianic religionistsnand the militant right for Mingnto cultivate “pluralism as a desirablencondition,” Israel’s realnproblem, as he himself sees, isnnot the lack of diversity but thendisappearance of national agreement.nThe pre-Six Day Warnunanimity on crucial issues, henshows, has not survived andndesperately needs to be renewed.nSince Mr. Oz’s own gospel ofnsecular and pacifist humanism isntoo contendess and sterile to effectnsuch a renewal, the readerncan only hope that someone elsenin Israel can stiU find a balm innGilead tot healing breaches. Ifnnot, a noble but bitterly dividednpeople may soon join both Hitlernand their ancestors among thencinders. (BC) Dnimpedimenta? Can the writernstop, cease, desist, or do thenreverberations from a tremblingnhand continue on to the unimaginable,nthrough the unknowable?nCan something be unsaid? Beckettncontinues. There will be no stop.nUntil the end.nEpigones, alas, try to carry onnthat which need not be toted.nFederman attempts the lading.nHe knows them: Mercier, Malone,nMurphy. The breathing ofnHow It Is is studied. Thenflourishes oiProust delineated.nHe thinks what can be. But it isn’t.nThe words come, then disappear.nThey’re not vaporized.nThey linger and reverberate.n