the Emperor’s white horse. MacArthurnnever said anything nearly as outrageous.nA possible e.xpianation is that the ordinarynGI (unlike the people at home)nwas acutely conscious that MacArthurnhad suffered a defeat in the Philippinesnfrom which only he and a few othersnhad escaped. The fact that MacArthurnnever visited the front at Bataan ornduring the first campaign in NewnGuinea was enough to nourish then”Dugout Doug ” fantasy. A real sourcenof grievance developed later in the warnbecause MacArthur did not use the possibilitiesnoffered by the War Departmentnto rotate veterans. Though he didnhave good reasons for this, it evokednthe understandable gibe “Join Mac —nand never come back.” and doubtlessnless printable things.nJVLanchester rightly gives MacArthurnhigh marks for the occupation,nthe part of his career the General himselfnwas most proud of. As the Britishnupper class learned centuries ago, benevolentndespotism in a foreign land cannbe great good fun, and MacArthur certainlynenjoyed himself to the profit ofnboth Americans and Japanese. Yet hisnjudgment was so little corrupted thatnhe favored terminating the occupationnas early as 1947. An interesting discoverynin reading Manchester’s book isnthat liberal opinion was just as confusednand revengeful about dealing with Japannas it was with Germany.nManchester is less sure of himselfnin dealing with the issues raised by thenKorean War and the Truman-MacArthurndispute, though he is careful tonrefute some of the exaggerated partisannsuspicions that have crept into accountsnof this controversy. He is. however, toonuncritical of MacArthur”s mishandlingnof the advance in North Korea in Novembern1950. Manchester is skepticalnof the Truman administration’s conductnof the war; as he points out. MacArthurnwas never given clear objectives afternthe Chinese entered the war. Trumannreduced MacArthur. a Roosevelt-hater,nto spells of nostalgia for FDR’s leader­nship during World War II.nBut. though he intimates that thenconduct of the Korean War as a disastrousnprecedent for the fumbling ofnthe Second Indochina War. he fails tonreach anv clear-cut conclusion. Manchesterndoes refute one or two of thensillier arguments against MacArthur snprogram, notably the claim that ournEuropean allies would have brokennwith us in protest against an “expansion”nof the war. It is of course truenthat the critical question of how thenSoviets would have reacted to blockadingnand bombing China in 1951 cannotnbe answered today. But. like JohnnSpanier and other liberal chroniclersnof the Truman-MacArthur controversy.nManchester has failed to notice, muchnless discuss, how the Korean War wasnactually brought to an end. That wasnaccomplished only after the Eisenhowernadministration threatened to employntactical nuclear weapons in Korea andnattack targets in China; i.e., after thenUnited States threatened to carry outnsomething like MacArthur’s program.nAmerican Caesar will not replacenD. Clayton James’ multivolume biographynof MacArthur for the purposes ofnspecialists. But it is a satisfying portraitnfor anvone else. LJnColorfully Human FictionnStephen Alter: Neglected Lives;nFarrar, Straus & Giroux; New York.nNorman Kotker: Miss Rhode Island;nFarrar, Straus & Giroux; New York.nby Whit StillmanniNegativism” in book reviewingnhas been too critically judged: peoplenare always stressing its bad side, nevernthe good. One of the few authors whonhas given this kind of negativism a fairnappraisal is Isaac Bashevis Singer, then1978 Nobel laureate for literature. Inna July, 1970 interview in AtlanticnMonthly, Singer said:n”H you read magazines you are toldnevery week that a few geniuses havenarisen. At the end of the year thensame magazines complain that nothingnworthwhile has appeared in literaturenthat year. The reviewers havensuffered from amnesia, or else theyndon’t care … If Moses came downnfrom Sinai today with Ten Commandments,nthey’d say, These are the bestnCommandments we’ve had in andecade,’ and then throw them into thenWhit Stillman is publisher of AmericannSpectator and author o/Under the QondoT—anparody college novel.nnngarbage in the evening . . . Therenmust come someone who will say wenare poor in literature and also in criticism.nI can see Gogol being resurrectednand asking, ‘What is the bestnbook of the year?’ and when he’snhanded Portnoy ‘s Complaint, he’dnwant to go back to the grave.”nCritical negativism is so justified,nbut in practice it tends to become tirensomely gloomy. Negativism does notnhave to hie that way. There can be pleasure,nand perhaps occasionally even joy.nin reading luridly honest descriptionsnof what H. L. Mencken called “the desertnof American fictioneering, so populousnand yet so dreary.” The one weightynobjection to candid treatment is that itncan be unkind to authors. But now thatnso many of them claim never to readntheir reviews, this concern has beennlargely obviated.nStephen Alter’s Neglected Lives isnone of those novels which eludes thentactful approach. The author is twentytwo.nHe sets his tale in the isolated andndecaying Indian hill resort of Debrakot.nLionel, the novel’s protagonist, is annAnglo-Indian young man who has gottenna Hindu girl in trouble and retreatednto live among the resort’s dwindlingnAnglo-Indian community. Generaln13nChronicles of Culturen