COMMENDABLESnThe Orient EgressnRichard Grenier: TheMarrakeshnOne-Two; Houghton Mifflin;nBoston.nPope John Paul II and thenAyatollah Ruhollah Khomeininhave little more in commonnthan species. This was madenmost evident when the Popenwas on his visit to Poland lastnJune. While he was speaking outnagainst the oppression of thenPolish people, Tehran radio reportednthat Khomeini was speakingnout against the Pope. It wasnthe same old story: “Great Satan”nAmerica. Khomeini reportedlynsaid that the Pope, “instead ofncondemning America for itsncrimes against humanity andnarousing his followers to confrontnthe oppressors, supports Americanand su^ests to the other oppressednpeople that they cooperatenwith it.” Imagine that.nMeanwhile, members of thenPalestine liberation Org3nizationn(sic) were attacking their head,nYassir Arafat, who, in turn, lashednout at Libyan leader MoamarnKhadafy, whom Arafat said wasnbehind the PLO revolt. At thensame time, people in Lebanonnwere shooting at Syrians. Thenwar continued between Iran andnIraq. Etc., etc., etc. How cannWesterners in general and Americansnin particular deal withnpeople like Khomeini, Arafat,nKhadafy, and countries and organizationsnthat simultaneouslynpretend to a common front andnshoot at each other? That questionnis essayed by Richard Greniernin a delightful romp through thencountries of the Middle East. Hisnanswer isn’t the one commonlynvoiced on television and pub­nM^m^m^^^^nChronicles of Cttlturenlished in newspapers and m^azines.nGrenier, regular film criticnfor Commentary, sets up thenquixotic adventure by usingnanother land that’s equally foreignnto most: Hollywood. A filmncompany, attempting to makenIslam’s explanation to the West,nMohammed Superstar, is summarilynkicked from country toncountry as it goes in search ofnsand, camels, and, most importantly,nmoney.nThere are those—critic EdwardnW. Said, most notably (videnOrientalism)—who claim thatnYesterday TodaynTtventieth-Century AmericannHistorians, Dictionary ofnLiterary Biography, Volumen17; Edited by Clyde N. Wilson; Gale ResearchnCo.; Detroit.nFidelity to truth is an impossibilitynfor the historian, if a historian’sntask is seen as making ancomplete record of past events.nThat is, as Laurence Sternenshowed with his The Life andnOpinions of Tristram Shandy, itnis virtually impossible for an individualnto record merely thenevents of his own life since whilenhe is making that record, othernevents are occurring; even if onenwere to catch up, one’s “history”ncouldn’t be written unless thenpostmortem were counted, andnit, of course, wouldn’t be by thenhand of the historian. The powernof selection in history is an imperiousnone. Thus it behoovesnany student of history to find outnabout the history of the historiansnthe West co-opted and distortednthe Middle East during the 19thncentury as Oriental studies werenestablished; such programs incorrectlyncodified the countriesnunder study, and therefore Westernersnhave it all wrong. PerhapsnSir Richard Francis Burton, Britishnexplorer and Orientalist, and hisnlike set people in the West onnthe wrong track, but Grenier followsnno one: no more evidencenthan his first-person narrator—anyoung, long-haired Americannscreenwriter who unapologeticallynassists the CIA—is needednto prove that. As Grenier deftlynshows, the Islamic Weltanschauungnis different than thenJudeo-Christian one of the West,nin both physical (e.g., the slicingnoff of portions of a person’s anatomynfor purposes of punishment)nand philosophical (take your pick)nways. The species is the same. ButnKipling was correct. •nso that an understanding of whatncriteria were used by the historianncan be developed. A finenwork for this purpose, one thatncovers 59 American historiansnvviioconcentrate(d)on Americannhistory, has been edited by Dr.nWilson. The essays presented arenthorough and well illustrated. Althoughnthis is a reference booknundoubtedly designed withnlibraries in mind, it is a collectionnsuited for the serious student ofnhistory. DnnnThe Light TouchnGeorges Simenon: Auntnfeanne; Harcourt Birace Jovanovich;nSan Diego.nGeorges Simenon: MaigretnAfraid; Harcomt Brace Jovanovich;nSan Diego.nAlmost by definition or convention,ndetective and mysterynstories are characterized by violencenand excitement: not onlynis a crime perpetrated, typicallynmurder(s), but the charactersnare put through frantic or otherwisenunusual paces. Even thendapper Sir Peter Wimsey worksnup some perspiration on occasion.nRaymond Chandler oncensaid that when he got into a bindnwith Marlowe and didn’t knownwhat to write next, he had someonenthrow a punch. Thus, the usenof action can be an out for thenwriter, an accessible path. Similarly,nit is a guideway for thenreader. That is, unless the story isnone by someone like Robbe-nGrUlet, the odds are that therenwill be a solution to the case.nThe author must make it worthnone’s while to move from pointnA, the discovery of the mystery,nto point Z, the denouement,nwithout skipping the 24 pointsnin between. Some might arguenthat the masteifijl writer of detectivenstories relies on the readersnto be captivated by the ratiocinativenabilities of the sleuth andnnothing else (assuming, of course,nthat said operative isn’t fromnMike Hammer’s mold). WTiilenthere is something to that, itsncomplete validity can be laid tonrest with two words: “Quick,nWatson!”nThere are, by nature, exceptions,nand in the genre under discussionnthe exception takes thenform of the invariably slim volumesnproduced by GeorgesnSimenon. Simenon is most widelynknown for his semiquiescentnMaigret. However, the numbernof books he has produced is ex-n