which this idea is expressed. Moynihannobserves that:n”… most of the world does not holdnwith that philosophy now. Most of thenworld believes in newer modes of politicalnthought, in philosophies thatndo not accept the individual as distinctnfrom and prior to the State, in philosophiesnthat therefore do not providenany justification for the idea of humannrights and philosophies that have nonwords by which to explain their value.nIf we destroy the words that werengiven to us by past centuries, we willnnot have words to replace them, fornphilosophy today has no such words.”nThis is a dangerous book because itnis written by a dangerous man who saysndangerous things. The danger is thatnall who read it, as all who have beheldnthe spectacle in the flesh, will beginnto doubt the veracity of what issuesnfrom the U.N. today: that PresidentsnNixon and Ford were racists, that Cubanntroops constitute a stabilizing influencenin Africa, that hundreds or even thousandsnof political prisoners are stashednaway in the American Gulag, that Zionismnis tantamount to racism. Let thosenwho are faint of heart be forewarned:n”the terrible lie . . . told here today willnhave terrible consequences.” DnWaste of MoneynHalberstam’snWow! Gee!nDavid Halberstam: The Powers ThatnBe; Alfred A. Knopf; New York.nThis is Hype-Pop-New Journalism atnits best, or worst, depending on what wenexpect from this contemporary massculturalnphenomenon, or plague. Mr.nHalberstamchronicles chronologicallyonendemurs at calling his methodologynhistorical—the modern sagas of medianempires such as T/we, CBS, WashingtonnPost and Los Angeles Times. Even thenS6inChronicles of Culturenverb “to chronicle,” which denotes ancertain writing effort conceived withinnthe realm of creative intellect, seemsnoddly misplaced when used to describenMr. Halberstam’s endeavors and results.nHe displays—vividly, to be sure, albeitnmeretriciously—some people and personalitiesofnAmerica’s sociocultural proscenium,nbut does not attempt to measurenthem against any idea, any concept,nor any moral yardstick of our particularnepoch. They seem to form the cast for angiant TV sitcom, starring the tycoonsnof American journalism. They are presentednand judged in keeping with thenstandards of a Manhattan cognoscentenwho feeds on the “in” philosophies ofnfashion, hubris, and rather sleazy variationsnof liberalism. It does not even occurnto Mr. Halberstam, after all his pains­nDelbanco’s Strange DullnessnNicholas Delbanco: Sherbrookes;nWilliam Morrow & Co.; New York.nThis is a strangely dull book. Althoughnit sets out to deal with suchnthemes as love, sex, family ties, loyalty,nbirth, death, roots, etc., the total effectnis one of emptiness. In its 250 pages ofncarefully wrought prose—mostly detailingninner landscapes —the novelnmanages to evoke few emotions andneven fewer ideas. The story has to donwith the return of a young man callednIan to his family home in Vermontnsome months after the death of hisnfather, Judah. Living in the house (referrednto as the Big House and set onn1,000 acres) are lan’s old aunt, Hattie,nand his widowed mother, Maggie, who,nat 52, turns out to be pregnant. Thenfather is not Judah. Nor is his identitynof any real importance. What is supposednto be important is the meaningnof the pregnancy to the three mainncharacters. Unfortunately, the authornprovides no reason for anyone else toncare. The lengthy musings of Ian, Maggienand the old aunt are about as stimulatingnas a protracted heat wave—andnnntaking factual research, to ask whatnall those Bill Paleys, Kay Grahams andnHarry Luces, given all the power he ascribesnto them, have done to such fundamentalningredients of contemporarynAmerica’s esse like civic duty, moralnprinciple and freedom. Their impact onnman, mankind, truth and human destinynis also ignored. Mr. Halberstam sees innjournalism some greatness and momentousnessnas Ding an sich; but his sentimentnhardly fits the feelings of contemporarynAmerica, which the more shenreads her press and listens to her media,nthe more she tends to see their heroes asn”black-hearted scoundrels” —to usenMark Twain’s favorite mot for journalists.nWhich, eventually, places Mr. Halberstam’sndepth of vision and wisdom innthe same category as Lou Grant’s. Dnconsiderably less genuine. Overcome bynfeelings of vacuousness, the readernlapses into a semitrance. Sherbrookesnis Mr. Delbanco’s ninth book and concernsnthe same family he wrote about innan earlier work called Possession. (MS)nThe AbnormalcynObsessionnJohn Howland Spyker: Little Lives;nFred Jordan Books/Grosset & Dunlap; NewnYork.nThe jacket blurb describes “. . . [an]nastonishing discovery … a joyful celebrationnof eccentric individuality . . .”nActually, the. author seems to have gonenout of his way to present the reader withnan array of the most freakish characters,npast or present, that he can find.nHe takes great care that we know whondidn’t always wear undergarments andnwho, it was rumored, “ate his ownnbogers.” Contrary to the jacket blurb’snclaim that Mr. Spyker is able to sum upnlives in a few sentences, all he reallyn