not to discriminate along such lines,nbut a man from Cornell was” easier tonrespect than one from the Universitynof Missouri.nAs the continuing pertinence of thenpreceding paragraph makes clear,nSchwarz’s book provides valuable insightsninto long-forgotten controversiesnwhich have largely shaped our currentnsituation; in his account of the Eberstadtnaffair, for example, Schwarz gives anmuch more coherent picture of the differentnpolitical and economic views ofnthe contestants than does Murphy,nwhose knowledge of political economynis, at best, wanting. DnModern Stoicism & Useless SadnessnDan Wakefield: Under the ApplenTree; Delacorte Press; New York.nRobert McCrum: A Loss of Heart;nViking Press; New York.nby Gregory WolfenUnder the Apple Tree is a tale aboutna small Midwestern town during WorldnWar II; A Loss of Heart is concerned withncontemporary British radicalism. On thensurface, the books are disparate. A unity,nhowever, becomes apparent: both novelsnattempt to depict the state of the nationnthrough particular characters and events;nby looking through the small lens theynintend to provide a telescopic view of nationalnhistory. A second puzzle emergesnin focusing on Dan Wakefield. He is ansometime contributing editor oiAtlanticnMonthly whose novel Starting Overnfollowed the best-seller/hit-movie routena few years ago. Starting Over is a “comic”nnovel which must have struck thenAmerican reading public in just the rightnway: it traces the myriad one-, two-, andnthree-night stands of a recently divorcednman who really needs the company ofnwomen. Wakefield’s combination of sexnand Woody Allen-style comedy aboutntrendy hang-ups guaranteed its success inna culture that prefers to see the funny sidenof the modern behavioral morass.nUnder the Apple Tree seems almost tonbe written by a different author. Anquieter, more serious novel about a smallnIllinois town during World War II, thisnMr. Wolfe tvrites from Oxford, England.nbook is also funny, but its social criticismnand irony are more subtle and restrained.nThe author keeps to the background innthis one. What ultimately links the twonWakefield novels is what one dust-jacketncommentator called Wakefield’s “stoicnsense of the human condition.” Thisnmodern stoicism, which does have a certainnappeal, is reminiscent of its philosophicalnpredecessor. However, thoughnit appears to have noble qualities, it lacksnthe transcendent, redemptory visionnwhich is the ultimate source of philosophicalnsatisfaction. Stoicism can benanother word for moral blindness.nWakefield’s protagonist is 10-year-oldnArtie Gather, and in Artie’s developmentnwe are meant to see not only his lossnof innocence, but that of the whole nationnas well. Evidently both Artie andnAmerica have a lot of growing up to do.nWakefield does evoke the small townnwell: for Artie, Birney, Illinois is thenwith aimlessness and violence; his realnmotives for enlisting involve escaping hisnhigh school academic failure. The communitynisn’t concerned with Roy’snmotives; it treats him like a glorifiednfootball hero. Here enters the doublenstandard, the well-meaning hypocrisynthat Wakefield wants readers to see as anstate of mind ripe for a rude awakening.nArtie’s preoccupation with the war,nhis dutiful work on the home front, hisnattitude toward the enemy (“And we’llnslap the Jap right off the map!!”), are of anpiece with the insular mentality of thenAmericans who see the war as an extensionnof the high school football game.nThe war drags on, and Artie, along withnthe rest of the coimtry, gets bored with it;nthey are, in war-propaganda terms,n”slacking off.” The air of unreality isnreinforced by Wakefield’s frequent usenof popular song lyrics, many of which actnas a balm or sedative on a collective nationalnmind unable to understand whatnthe war is all about.nThat question of understanding seemsnimportant. The American soldiers in thenKorean War who broke under communistninterrogation in POW campsnsuccumbed because they couldn’t saynwhat America “stood for.” With thenVietnam War and the 60’s, the aisis ofncitizenship became an established factnof American life. All the charactersnin Under the Apple Tree talk aboutnAmerica “making the world safe forn” ‘Under the Apple Tree’. . . [is] a palpable and charming mix ofserioiisnessnand entertainment.”n—New York Times Book Reviewncenter of the known universe, and thenrichness and plentitude of the Americannplains that he senses taps into the traditionnof America as the Eden of innocence.nThe sensuousness of the land is reflectednin Artie’s big brother Roy, whom Artienidolizes. Roy is a physical youth who, notnsurprisingly, quits school to join thenMarines at the outbreak of the war,nwhich serves to increase the admirationnArtie and others in Birney have for him.nRoy’s physicality, however, is taintednnndemocracy.” Wakefield probably intendsnus to see this as part of a nationalncomplacence, but it could also be seen asnthe kind of vacuous, messianic phrasenwhich Woodrow Wilson and the liberalnmind bequeathed to posterity. It wasnliberalism, not conservatism or “capitalism,”nwhich carried the vision ofnAmerica’s “Manifest Destiny” and sawnthe rest of the world as a barbaric frontiernin need of the Fourteen Points of peace.nHowever, it seems that Wakefield hasn^^mmmmZ^nFebruary 1983n