ology. Hence the title, Gentlemen innEngland, though hterally derived fromnShakespeare’s Henry the Fifth, seemsnmore hke an echo of Sir Leshe Stephen’snVictorian dictum of thenBloomsbury enlightenment: “I nownbelieve in nothing, but I do not thenless believe in morality. … I meannto live and die like a gendeman ifnpossible.”nTo the extent that A.N. Wilson hasncaught the major dilemma of thenVictorians—that is, how to be moralnwithout resorting to the underpinningsnof theological beliefs—Gentlemen innEngland may be a more serious andnimportant novel than its first readersnrealize. A serious dilemma neverthelessnremains in the failure of Bloomsburynto have effected some kind ofnsynthesis between mere rationality andnthe sacred mysteries of a Christianitynnow reduced to a state of caricature bynthe enthusiasm of the true believers.nThe question is whether Wilson, innGentlemen in England, has in turnnreduced the skepticism of the Victoriansnto the contemptuousness of thenmoderns.nThomas P. McDonnell is a free-lancenwriter living near Boston.nSenator FromnNebraskanby Edward S. ShapironForty Years Against the Tide: Congressnand the Welfare State by CarlnT. Curtis and Regis Courtemanche,nChicago: Regnery Gateway; $18.95.nGeorge Nash, the historian of post-nWorld War 11 American conservatism,nin a recent speech at Hillsdale Cohegenin Michigan called for a conservatismnwhich would attempt to change thenworld as well as to understand it—anconservatism of politics as well as ofnscholarship. Conservatism, Nash declared,n”must succeed in the arena ofnpolities, not only in the realm of conferences,nseminars, and academicnquarterlies.” He argued that an “intelleetualization”nof conservative politicsnwas, in fact, occurring because of annincipient alliance between conservativenpoliticians and intellectuals.nForty Years Against the Tide is annexample of the fruitful interchangenbetween polities and the life of thenmind which Nash believed necessary ifnconservatism was to triumph. Thenbook is both the memoirs of SenatornCarl T. Curtis of Nebraska as well asnan extended meditation on the welfarenstate. One of its authors is RegisnCourtemanche, a historian teaching atnLong Island University with a doctoratenfrom the London School of Economics.nOne suspects that Courtemanchenwrote the bulk of the book,nsince relatively few of its pages discussnCurtis’ private or public life.nCurtis represented Nebraska in thenHouse of Representatives from 1939 ton1955 and in the Senate from 1955 ton1979, a record of longevity surpassednby only 21 other solons. He enterednCongress the same year that Robert A.nTaft became a Senator, and he leftnCongress the same time that a taxnrevolt swept eastward from California.nCurtis never lost an election, winningnmost of them by wide margins. (Hisnrecord is even more formidable thannthat of the University of Nebraska’snfootball team.)nCurtis was a conservative’s conservativenand a Republican’s Republican.nHe was Barry Goldwater’s floor managernat the 1964 San Francisco RepublicannConvention as well as one of thenlast defenders of Richard Nixon inn1974. He accepted most of the tenetsnof right-wing Republican piety: thatnHerbert Hoover deserved reelection inn1932, that Roosevelt expected a Japanesenattack on Pearl Harbor, and thatnNixon “was harrassed out of office bynhis political opponents and by thenmass media.” Throughout his publicncareer, he remained a steadfast opponentnof public housing, urban renewal,nunbalanced budgets, centralizedngovernment, welfare dependency.nFederal aid to education, medicarenand medicaid, and the manipulationnof government by economic interests.nStrangely enough. Against the Tide isnsilent on Curtis’ attitude toward JosephnMcCarthy.nA model statesman while in office,nCurtis chose to return to Nebraskanafter retirement rather than to lead thengood and sleazy life of a wealthynWashington lobbyist or lawyer. Hisnown probity accounts for his contemptnfor Billie Sol Estes, Bobby Baker, andnothers in Washington who becamenrich at the public’s expense.nThe central theme of Forty YearsnAgainst the Tide is Curtis’ oppositionnto the nation’s seemingly inexorablendrift to an oppressive and centralizednwelfare state. For years he and a fewnother Republicans in Congress, primarilynfrom the Middle West, gallantlynbut unsuccessfully opposed the enlargementnof what had begun duringnBOOKS IN BRIEF—MIDWESTnGreat Sermons of the 20tti Century, compiled by Peter F. Gunthei, Westchester, IL:nCrossway Books; $7.95. A dozen memorable sermons from leading Protestant clergymen,nmostly American. Especially well-represented is the work of preachers who labored at ThenMoody Bible Institute of Chicago.nExtraordinary Lives: Tlie Art and Craft of American Biograptiy, edited by William Zinsser,nNew York: American Heritage/Houghton Mifflin; $16.95. Six interviews with biographers ofnprominent Americans. The cantankerous but no-nonsense Missourian Harry Truman stillnfascinates, but Walter Lippmann and LBJ merely remind us of our depressing nationalndecline.nThe Greek Generals Talkhy Philip Parotti; Tigers in the Woodhy Rebecca Kavaler; SeriousnTrouble by Paul Friedman; Birds landing by Ernest J. Finney, Urbana: University ofnIllinois Press; $11.95 each. Four new titles in the Illinois Short Fiction series. Kavaler,nFriedman, and Finney serve up the now-predictable formulae for academic “creativenwriting”—low life, sex, feminist rant, and it’s-all-meaningless-anyway despair. But inspirednby The Iliad, Parotti has come up with something fresh and worth reading—the fictionalnrecollections of Thrasymedes, Meriones, Eurypylus, and other Greek soldiers who fought atnTroy.nCensorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks hy Paul C. Vitz, Ann Arbor:nServant Books. A careful documentation of the antireligious, antitraditionalist bias in thentextbooks used in our public schools from Peoria to San Bernardino. Vitz rightly concludesnthat nothing less than busting the public school monopoly will solve the problem.nnnFEBRUARY 1987 / 25n