and help him to ride one of his own hobbyhorses:ndiat corporate capitalism, becausenof its “internal tensions,” producednnazism and thereby the Holocaust.nUtilizing the theories of Syrkin,nAvineri predicts further anti-Semitic explosionsnas both the victims and the benefactorsnof capitalism try to find scapegoatsnfor the defects of the system.nIt must be said in fairness that Avinerindoes not serve up xhtplat dujourioundnin most Marxist discourse about the risenof nazism. To his credit, he does not presentnHitler as a mere tool of German ornWestern capitalism, nor does he statenthat the German Grosskapitalisten werenthe most decisive group in bringingnHitler to power. Instead of seeking tonrevive these discredited fictions, Avinerinresorts to structural arguments. First heninstmcts how the capitalist system mustnoperate and then points out how its supposedlyninevitable class antagonisms arencauses of both past and fiiture disasters.nL(ike many leftists, Avineri ultimatelynfalls victim to his own false vision.nBecause he is both a Jewish nationalistnand a hater of Western capitalism, hendistorts the past by depicting Jewry as anvictim of bourgeois civilization, when itnactually has benefited from it. UnlikenGerman economist Werner Sombart,nwho despised capitalism and dislikednJews for advancing it, Avineri does violencento Jewish history to create a phonyncontradiction between what he hates andnwhat he presumes to like. He rejectsnflesh-and-blood people in favor of spuriousnmetaphysics. Avineri wishes to havena Jewish nation without its ancient religionnand a Jewish community purified ofnthe mercantile values that have been anpart of Jewish existence since the Talmudicnperiod in Babylonia. He emphaticallyndeclares: “Laissez-faire in annIsraeli context means bringing Exile backnto Israel.” But what would he substitutenfor the economic doctrines scorned: anwarmed-over version of that Marxismnwhich some of his Eastern European precursorsnhad obviously learned during thenExile? Irresponsibly, he never addressesnthe question of what makes Marxism, ornsecular socialism, more authenticallynJewish than what Jews have actuallyntaught and done for the last two thousandnyears. In this evasion, he showsnhimself to be an heir of the Zionist-so­ncialists, who liked to attribute all Jewishnhabits and values that deviated fromntheir secular-coUectivist norm to the unfortunatenlegacy of Jewish exile. Thenargument—like most of Avineri’s bookn—simply won’t wash. DnOn Irishmen & Assorted LosersnJames M. Cain: The Baby iii the Iceboxnand Other Short Fiction; Holt, Rinehartnand Winston; New York.nFrank O’Connor: Collected Stories;nAlfred A. Knopf; New York.nby Diane Long HoevelernJames Cain is of Irish descent, thirdgenerationnAmerican. Frank O’Connornwas an Irish writer who did not flee hisnhomeland, but instead stayed, studiednit and tried to get his fellow citizens tonsee clearly both its beauty and its misery.nOne would think, then, that the shortnstories of these two writers would be veryndifferent. In many ways they are. But innreading these two collections side by side,none sees a stanling similarity. Both presentnwhat can only be called the diseasesnof modern life with the clear, concisenscrutiny of scientists examining theirnspecimens under a microscope. Althoughnone is based in Ireland, the “old”nworld, and one in America, the “new,”nboth artists are obsessed with the alienationnproduced by modern, industrial society,nthe corruption of marriage andnfamily relationships, absent or indifferentnreligious institutions and the nihilismnthat arises when one is forced to livenin a society with no social cohesion or acceptednconventions.nThe America depicted in Cain’s collectionnis the America of the Eastern seaboardnor the far West, the so-callednpromised land of California. Into thisnDr. Hoeveler teaches in Milwaukee atnRufus King High School for the CollegenBound.nnnworld drift garage mechanics, frustratednwives, out-of-work freight riders, convicts,nsnake oil salesmen and other assortednlosers. Their stories are seldomndramatic or suspenseful, and for Cainnthat is the point. Unlike his most famousnworks. The Postman Always RingsnTwice, Double Indemnity and MildrednPierce, these stories show Cain in thentradition of the more realistic H.L. Menckennand Ring Lardner. Here he is concernednwith the foibles and follies of thenAmerican rube, the man or woman withnno education, or such a limited educationnthat he or she is left with no moralnguidelines or values by which to act.nSimilarly, 0′ Connor once observed thatnstorytelling “doesn’t deal with problemsn; it doesn’ t have any solutions to offer;nit just states the human condition.”nBut O’Connor is being unfair to thencomplexity of his own work here, for hisnstories do deal with a number of problems,nand, although they never preachnand aren’t didactic, they offer one consistentnsolution to the problems thatnbeset Ireland as well as the modernn••i^^MiSOnSeptember 198Sn