30 I CHRONICLESnnot a “mother-idea”; Ancone is the citynof Ancona; Clelie is the heroine of annovel by Mile. Scudery. They printnand “translate” such things withoutnexplanation, while at the same timenthey print hundreds of words in unnecessarynfootnotes telling the Americannreader who Guizot or NapoleonnIII were. They do not know Englishnwell enough: They write such phrasesnas “at this point in time” and usen”presently” when they mean “at present.”nThey chose to retranslate somenof Tocqueville’s letters of which Englishntranslations exist; in nearly everyncase this was unnecessary, since thenprevious translations are better andnclearer than theirs. In many othernplaces, their translation is tone-deafnOf the thousands of Tocqueville letters,nthey selected 104, some of whichnare wholly without importance (no. 2,nfor example, to Louis de Kergorlay, innwhich Tocqueville lists his expenses onna forthcoming trip, including his pocketnmoney). In sum, the impression andnreflechon of Tocqueville in this volumenis fragmentary, and the contentsnare often dull.nInseparable, alas, from these short­ncomings of the editors is their inabilitynto understand Tocqueville’s thinking.n”One searches in vain in Tocqueville’snpublished writings for any systematicndiscussion of the philosophical basisnfor his personal ethical positions,” theynwrite. What nonsense this is. Had theynknown Tocqueville better, they wouldnhave understood his profound mistrustnfor philosophical “systems.” Tocquevillenwas an existenhal and historicalnthinker: the opposite of an abstractncategorizer or systematist. To write, asnBoesche and Toupin do, that Tocquevillenwas “occasionally longing for anquiet middle-class life of financial security”nis to misunderstand him completely.nYes, Tocqueville wished henhad a little more financial security; butnhe had the aristocrat’s contempt for thenexaggerated importance that so manynpeople attribute to money. Religionnwas very important to Tocqueville.nThese editors fail to comprehend thenmeariing of this (and the evolution ofnTocqueville’s relationship to the Catholicnchurch), relying as they do on thensuperficial remarks by Tocqueville’snliberal commentators. A last examplenwill demonstrate the superficiality ofnGermania Tremens by Arthur M. Ecksteinn”What wonders I have done, all Germany cannwitness. …”n—Christopher MarlowenGermany Today by Walter Laqueur,nBoston: Little, Brown; $19.95.nOn Writing and Politics, 1967-1983nby Giinter Grass; translated bynRalph Manheim, San Diego:nHarcourt Brace Jovanovich; $16.95.nAnyone who has lived in Germanyneventually realizes that Germanynis a nation of hypochondriacs. Germansnspend far more than Americansnon nostrums, vitamins, tranquilizers,nand elixers; Americans may watchn”Dynasty,” but the most popular TVnArthur Eckstein is professor of historynat the University of Maryland.nshow in the Federal Republic is “BlacknForest Clinic.” A similar obsessionnprevails in politics: Germans are alwaysnquestioning the health of theirnsociety and their politics, just as theynconstanriy question the health of theirnbodies. What they usually examinenthemselves for now, of course, is politicalninstability and the antidemocraticndisease. Given their history, this isnhardly surprising. And the Germans’npolitical hypochondria is catching: itnsoon affects outside observers of thenGerman scene. This is hardly surprising,neither. The Germans’ politicalnpast, and their vital importance to thenWestern alliance, makes obsessionnwith the political and social health ofnthe country understandable. Thennntheir edition. In a long footnote onnpage 3 of their Introduction, theynwrite: “Recent biographies tend to bengood but too short whereas turn-ofthe-centurynbiographies tend to be tediousnand tainted by an urge to claimnTocqueville for the Catholic church.”nThere were no such Tocqueville biographiesnat the turn of the century. InnAntoine Redier’s Comme disait Monsieurnde Tocqueville there is a chapternabout Tocqueville’s last days; but, asnBoesche and Toupin write in the footnote,nthat book was published in 1925.nThis is, alas, typical of the quality andnof the scholarship of this volume.nYet I write this review not only fornthe purpose of caveat emptor but tonadvise readers: There is so much morenof Tocqueville that we ought to know.nThere are many topics in the subchaptersnand chapters of his publishednworks that have not yet received thenattention they deserve; and the contentsnof many of his letters amount tonan immense mine of themes. Thenidearium of Tocqueville—as well asnhis solid and detailed biography—isnyet to be written.nproblem, however, is to know whennthe hypochondriac is really sick: Luther,nafter all, terrified his audiencesnwith the prediction that society was soniniquitous that the Day of Judgmentnwould come before the end of summern1541.nIn Germany Today, Walter Laqueurngives the Federal Republic his ownnclose examination. Born and reared innGermany, Laqueur has written muchnfirst-rate work on German history. Henis also a leading neoconservative thinkernwho has been much concerned withnthe direction Europe has been takingnever since the 1970’s. Germany Todaynis a beautifully written and almostnencyclopedic description of the conditionnof the Federal Republic as it stoodnin 1982-1984.nLaqueur ends up giving the WestnGermans an almost clean bill ofnhealth. Or rather, assertions of basicnpolitical, social, economic, and culturalnhealth are placed at the beginningnand end of chapters whose con-n