preached with a light tread, particularlynwhen the subject ofnsuchaworkisawriter,amembernof that breed which is more selfconsciousnthan any other, barnnone. Muggeridge is no exception:nduring a holiday atnRoquebrune-Cap Martin, hendescribes what he thinks to be anperfect day, then writes in thenpenultimate sentence, “That—nfor anyone who cares to know—nis how I like to live. …” Thatnstatement, written in July 1949,nis for us, today. This selfconsciousnessnhas both benefitsnand drawbacks for the reader,nthe former manifest in keennobservations, the latter in subtlenobfiiscation of the self. There’snno way of knowing how oftennMuggeridge wielded his brushnto achieve chiaroscuro, but,nnevertheless, his observationsnmore than make up for anyncosmetics.nMuggeridge has always beennin the thick of things. Conse­nSocial HistorynOscat and Lilian Handlin: AnRestless People: Americans innRebellion 1770-1787; AnchornPress; New York.nby David R. SandsnSocial history is a genre that isnstill finding its feet. Its methodologynhas a few bugs to benworked out, but at its best, it canngive us some sense of the dailinessnof lives we are not living.nOscar and Lilian Handlin’s effortnpossesses many of the discipline’snvirtues and not a few ofnits flaws.nMr. Sands is a graduate studentnat Tufts University.nIN FOCUSn4SinChronicles of Cttlturenquently, diary entries includencomments on visits to and conversationsnwith George Orwell,nAnthony Powell, GrahamnGreene, Field Marshal Montgomery,nWinston Churchill—nand the list continues at somenlength. But this collection isnmore than mere chattiness;nthere is truth in it. Early on,nMuggeridge went to the SovietnUnion with his wife; he plannednto live there, raise his familynthere. For him, like others, thensystem turned out to be a godnthat failed. He became disillusioned—ornthe scales fell fromnhis eyes—very quickly. For Muggeridge,nhis dashed dream wasnbut one of many failures. Henhad more than just a touch ofnyoung Werther in him; deathnand suicide are recurringnthoughts. Many tend to think ofnMuggeridge with the hint of anhalo about him; he is a man.nLittle more can be—or shouldnbe—said. DnThe thesis of A Restless Peoplenis that in the vital formativenyears of the republic we Americansnwere agile and busy innalmost every imaginable way. Annunparalleled social mobility andna vast, empty continent leftnAmericans either unsatisfied orninsecure. It would seem tautologicalnto hold that a deeply dividednpeople engaged in the Enlightenmcnt’snequivalent of anwar for national liberation wasnrestless: torpor is not usually anrevolutionary attribute. But thenHandlins’ idea of restlessnessngoes deeper, and they demonstratenthat early American provincialismnand distrust of OldnWorld hierarchical models hadnset the colonials adrift from thenphilosophical and social mooringsnthat had provided communalncontinuity in Europe.nSo far, so good. As a hypothesisnin the history of socialnthought and the evolution of institutionsnin this country, it hasnconsiderable merit. But thenHandlins prove far less satisfactorynat constructing an empiricalnfoundation upon whichnto base these conclusions. As isncustomary with social historians,nthey rely on what might bencalled the “popular record”—ndiary entries, newspaper clips,nchildren’s primers, numerousnanecdotes. Some of these nuggetsnprove illuminating, othersndo not. Writing a mass biographynis difficult since the massesndo not keep a collective journal.nGeneralizations come easily tonthe Handlins. To prove thendubious thesis that postwarn”mutual dependence sharpenednthe vision of citizens, whonscrutinized the performance ofntheir neighbors” to “detec[t]nshortcomings,” the authors citenAlexander Hamilton, GeorgenWashington and a then-contemporarynFrench consul. Thenauthors apparently find thesenobservers somehow representative,nbut they fail to show how.nA more serious (and irritating)ndefect is the relentlessnessnwith which the authors exposenthat restlessness. The populacenthey describe must have sufferednfrom a giant collectivenulcer. Everything—religion andnthe lack of it, family, work, joblessness,nnoise in the streets, fearnof fire, health standards, overcrowding,nisolation, wartimendeprivations, peacetime uncertainties—seemsnto have pressednin on our anxious, harried, dissatisfiednforefathers. Life wasnnever easy—and the Handlinsnshow just how hard it was. Butnconstant skittishness hardlynsounds realistic.nTheir work commands attention,nhowever, when they refrainnnnfrom grinding this unfortunatenaxe, as in the chapters on thenprovisional nature of Americannsociety and on the arts innAmerica. (Surprisingly, Americannculture, in its undiluted,nparochial self-assurance, doesnnot reflect at all the supposedngeneral anxiety and restlessness.)nThe scholarship is sound, thenwriting competent. As socialnhistoriography goes, its nonadvocating,nmeasured stylenmakes it better than most of itsnmore ideological cousins, but,neven here, the book is betternwhen it describes than when itnargues. In short, A Restless Peoplenworks best when it is not tryingnto prove its thesis. DnInscrutablenHistorynJohn CosteUo: The Pacific War;nRawson, Wade Publishers; New York.nby Alan J. LevinenIt is remarkable how Americannthinking about the PacificnWar still runs to extremes. Inn1970 and 1971, two highlyntouted tomes about the war ofnI94I-I945 appeared. The authorsntake diametrically oppositenstances. John Toland’s The RisingnSun is a whitewash of thenJapanese; it pictures them asnquasi-liberators of Asia fromnWestern imperialism and claimsnthat the war could easily havenbeen avoided. David Bergamini’snJapan’s Imperial Conspiracynis an equally oversized,ntendentious and tedious worknthat preserves the wartimenAmerican propaganda image ofnJapan and revives the myth ofnHirohito as the real ruler of Japannrather than the figurehead henDr. Levine is a historian living innNew York.n