Six were now transformed into heroes.nEmerson thought Grant’s terms at Appomattoxnwere too lenient; he wanted tonsee the South punished.nAfter the war Emerson, Thoreau andnmost of the Transcendentalists becamenthe subjects of an outpouring of mawkishnand adulatory books, reminiscencesnand recollections. The Sage, however,nfell victim to aphasia and slipped into ansad decline. On this topic, as on the subjectsnof the death of Emerson’s first wifenand eldest son. Dr. Allen provides annexcellent and humane account. But henseems to record the tragedy of Emerson’snloss of perception and abandonment ofnprinciple without understanding it. Innfact, he apparently shares the blindnessnof his subject. For the man who rejoicednin the tragedy of the Civil War had, in effect,nabandoned the reason he so proudlynextolled. No other nation, after all, hadnto resort to violence to solve so political annissue. The Russians, the Portuguese, thenFrench, the Mexicans, the Spanish, thenEnglish—all of them settled their slaverynissues with a stroke of a pen. Only Americansnlost sight of rationality, and evennhere the catastrophe might well havenbeen averted, had not the abolitionistsnmade a religious issue of the matter, hadnBrown’s murders not been condoned bynthe North, and if the Southerners hadnnot been led to believe that they wouldnbe massacred to the last man. Emerson’snrole in these events was not small. He andnhis colleagues carped at Lincoln throughoutnthe President’s terms and hailed thenReconstruction.nAn 1883, a year after Emerson’s death,nDavid N. Utter, a Unitarian clergyman,ncalled attention to the true nature ofnJohn Brown. That set off a great intra-nUnitarian controversy, for by then thisnflock had, said James Malin, “devotednmore attention to the worship of Emersonnthan to God.” Despite a mountainnof evidence against Brown, the issue wasnfairly well papered over, together withnthe fallible nature of Emerson and thenabolitionists. Yet the truth kept seepingnthrough the cracks. By 1900 it was gener­nally agreed that the abolitionists hadnhelped create catastrophe and that Emersonnwas not a serious thinker.nThen the pendulum swung back. Thengreat expurgation of Christianity’s contributionsnto the West, and to the UnitednStates, was gradually successful. Thenhistory texts were de-Christianized, andnthe “New England religion” whichnEmerson held aloft was made respectable.nDr. Allen believes that Emersonn”anticipated,” in an intellectual sense,nthe birth of Christian Science. I agree.nThere are other movements of which thatnmight also be said. Little of the essence ofnthis, however, can be learned from readingnDr. Allen; his hints are scattered andnfew. The overall work glitters andngleams, is all white and shiny—and repeatsnevery hoary old myth, every hackneyednold comment ever made aboutnEmerson. To discover the real Reverendnthe reader will have to outlive the abolitionist-worshipersnwho have, in ourntime, repeated all the propaganda of then1850’s, updated to apply to the racistnpolitics, anti-Christianity and antigovernmentalnclamor of today. DnThe Ethos of Bus-Terminal Rest RoomsnRobert Stone: A Flag for Sunrise; AlfrednA. Knopf; New York.nby Stephen L. TannernIt is unwise to underestimate the impactnupon our nation of the VietnamnWar and the related cultural phenomenanof the 60’s—the drugs, music, radicalnpolitics and disaffected counterculture.nBut there may be an even greater dangernin overestimating it. A Flag for Sunrisenmanifests such a danger.nIn an interview concerning the writingnof this novel, Robert Stone said, “To menit seemed that with the war, the drug explosion,nthe music, all the wild things,nwhatever you want to call it, the worldnwas so different from the way it wasnbefore thewar.Itwas almost like living innthe aftermath of a revolution. This is andifferent kind of country.” He hadnwitnessed this “revolution” in a firsthandnway. He was involved in the psychedelicndmg and counterculture experiencenin California during the early 60’s;nin fact, he accompanied Ken Kesey andnthe Merry Pranksters on the cross-countrynbus trip described in Tom Wolfe’s ThenElectric Kool-Aid Acid Test, a trip thatnbecame a landmark event for hippies andnDr. Tanner is professor of English atnBngham Young University.nnnacid heads. He also visited Viemam inn1971 to learn for himself what was happeningnthere. Both experiences profoundlynshaped his view of life and ofnAmerica and consequently determinednthe namre of his fiction.nIn his second novel. Dog Soldiers, anwriter visits Vietnam in the early 70’s andncomes away with the impression that innVietnam “the world of things transformednitself into a single overwhelmingnact of murder.” Stone apparently wasnoverwhelmed in the same way, and DognSoldiers brings the Vietnam War homento America in the form of drugs and violence.nHeroin smuggled from Vietnamninto California symbolizes the state ofnmind of that war and leads to a Vietnam ­nlike shootout in the Southwest.nStone went to Vietnam thinking ofnthe North Vietnamese as the good guys.nThis changed as he learned of their atrocities.nIn a manner not uncommon to disillusionednradicals, he concluded thatnthere is no honor, morality or meaningnanywhere. In an interview, he quotes ancharacter in V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend innthe River: “It isn’t that there isn’t anynright or wrong, it’s that there isn’t anynright!” To this he adds, “It’s just thatnthe ambiguities of life are infinite.” Andnherein lies his central preoccupation as anwriter: life’s infinite ambiguities. But Inwould point out that his novels are lessn• M M ^ i M 9nJuly/Augttstl98Sn