style, tone and manner, to replay thenmelodies of brotherhood, peace and goodnwill that once beguiled a generation. Tondo this, Cowley has had to restore thenfeeling of the Depression—the crushingnsense that people were going hungrynacross the land, a third of the nation’snwork force rendered idle—when mostnAmericans were bewildered and bereft.nHe does this hypnotically well; nonenwho recall the 1930’s will argue withnCowley’s memory in this respect. Hisnown activities in these years are modestlynpresented in a way that readers willnfind most attractive. Cowley’s mannersnare impeccable. There are no exchangesnwhere he overwhelms with his wit; hendoes not face down bullies nor bragnabout his adventures in bed. None ofnthe dreadful and embarrassing posturingsnso common to recent literature marnthis elegiac and evocative account of anvanished time in this land.nThis tone is established early andnmaintained with skill throughout. Notnall of the 1930’s are recalled, of course.nIt was a turbulent and crowded period,nand its last half was little short of disastrousnfor the views that Cowley had sonwell—and so often—expressed in itsnfirst half. The account of these years is,nunderstandably, somewhat short: thenelegant walker steps over some sharpncrevices toward the end. It is mainly thenperiod from 1930 to 1936 that is recreatednfrom Cowley’s recollections andnnotes. These can be assumed to be reliable,nsince the author was a professionalnwriter and a part of the political literatinthroughout a long and eminent career.nIt is well to remember, however, thatnthis career is not yet over. Cowley hasnlived a long time, seen and dealt withnmany prominent persons. The Dream ofnthe Golden Mountains ends over fortynyears ago, when he had many morenexperiences to live and observations tonmake. We may, therefore, eventuallynsee a second installment in the form ofna long rerun of a celebrated and crowdednlife, as in the instance of Malcolm Muggeridgenand other recent, prolific autobiographers.nThat expectation is strengthened bynthe fact that Cowley’s first book of recollectionsnappeared in 1934, when thenwriter was only 36. Exile’s Return wasnprobably the first book about the Americannliterary coterie in Paris during then20’s. Literary figures like Hemingway,nHenry Miller and F. Scott Fitzgeraldnwere described in a series of charmingnvignettes. Cowley was also among thenfirst to claim that he and his peers werenvictims of the world; that they hadnbeen uprooted by a senseless war, andnwere therefore uniquely lost amongngenerations. That argument, as familiarntoday as automobiles and advertising,nwas not—in 1934—sympathetically received.nLewis Gannett, the book criticnat the New York Herald-Tribune, sourlyncommented upon “a little group ofnserious-thinking drunkards,” and WilliamnSoskin in The American said, “Mr.nHemingway is growing dim. So are hisncolleagues.” Younger critics were farnmore kind: they were contemporaries ofnHemingway et al., and admired their experiences.nTime was to prove thatnCowley had pioneered a literary genrenthat became a virtual industry—but thatnwas later. In the early 30’s Cowley’snmajor accomplishment was his abilitynnot only to blend into the New Yorknscene, but also to become a totemicnleader and spokesman for the intellectualnfollowers of the Communist Partynline. This phase of Cowley’s career begannwhen he was hired, three weeks beforenthe October crash in Wall Street,nby The New Republic. The publicationnwas “safe in its subsidy,” says Cowley,nand “everyone felt sure of his job andnhardly anyone was angling for a betternone.” It was, he says, “like a family.”nCowley was, of course, very lucky.nThe job paid |100 a week to start-atna time when most men’s wages were tonnnfall to something like $700 or 1800 anyear, average, f 100 a month was to benconsidered good for several years. Henseems to have fit in perfectly at ThenNew Republic: within a fairly shortntime he had moved upstairs and in anfew years was a very influential bookncritic and general contributor, as wellnas a member of the inner circle titularlynheaded by Bruce Bliven. His salary, onenassumes, moved upward: he makes itnclear that Willard Straight’s widow, withnWhitney money of her own plus whatevernwas inherited from the Morgannpartner, did not stint.nIt would be fascinating to know whomnCowley met and how he, Edmund Wilsonnand their associates were swept intonthe Comintern orbit—but that informationnis, alas, not in The Golden Mountains.nInstead, we are deftly turned towardna fascinating byway involvingnCowley’s first wife, Peggy Baird, andnher trip to Mexico for a divorce. Thencurtain is parted a bit at this juncture,nand mutual infidelities are admitted.nWe follow Cowley into speakeasies andnPeggy into a weird affair in Mexico withnbisexual Hart Crane, who committednsuicide by jumping overboard on thenvoyage home. Other descriptions, equallyninteresting, flow in and around thisndramatic digression: we catch glimpsesnof Edmund Wilson traveling across thendepressed American landscape to sendnback superb descriptions; we see a youngnMartha Gellhorn careless of detail andnthe density of John Dewey’s prose. Thentone is literary and worldly, somewhatnaloof and sophisticated, but compassionatenand concerned all at the samentime. There is much about writing asna following. “It was,” says Cowley,n”my field, and I was concerned withneverything in it, from the commas beforena nonrestrictive clause to the statusnof the literary profession and the rightnway of managing the climax of a novel.”nL^owley recreates the thesis, currentnat the time, that writers should ben”spokesmen” for a new and better society.nThe time was ripe for “radicalnSeptember/October 1980n