What I Saw at the Revolutionnhy Peggy NoonannNew York: Random House;n353 pp., $19.95nThis book is at once a strange objectnand a peculiar event. To touch onnthe latter for a moment, it was excerptednbefore publication in the New YorknTimes Sunday Magazine, which chosenwith an unerring eye those passagesnmost damaging to Ronald Reagan andnhis administration. Using those samenpassages, Reagan-loathers such as JoannDidion and Wilfrid Sheed much enjoyednthemselves in print. Yet Noonan’snbook does contain many othernpassages expressing a kaleidoscope ofnattitudes toward Reagan, many of themnhighly favorable. One reflects, howev-nJeffrey Hart is a senior editor atnNational Review, a nationallynsyndicated columnist, and the authornof a number of books, the mostnrecent of which is Acts of Recovery.n30/CHRONICLESnOPINIONSnLa Pasionaria of the Beltwaynby Jeffrey Hartn”Even a child is known by his doings.”n— Proverbs 20:11ner, that Noonan must have approved ofnthe selection published in the Times,ncorrected the galleys, and so forth. Shenis smart enough to have known whatnthe Times was up to. Why did she putnup with it? To get her face on the covernof the Times Magazine? Was this, innthe famous words of Orwell’s parody,nanother case of “Under the spreadingnchestnut tree, /1 sold you, and you soldnme?” Is personal publicity really thenultimate value for Peggy Noonan?nBut before we return to the subjectnof this book as an event, let us considernit as an object, about which a greatnmany things can be said.nOne experiences in What I Saw atnthe Revolution an extreme discontinuity;nthe book is like a smashed mirror.nTo change metaphors, it reads as if itsnauthor had had a dozen errant bowlingnballs colliding constandy between hernears while it was in composition. Thentext seethes with contradictory resentments.nNoonan’s background, aboutnwhich we learn much more than isninteresting, was lower-middle-class.nnnWhile standing on that particular platformnshe does her populist routine, ankind of public hate (to borrow fromnOrwell again) against the smooth typesnand “Harvardheads” who surroundednher at the White House. But there arenalso moments when she expresses deepnloathing of the culture in which shenwas raised.n[The men] are not wearing theirnuniforms — for this one is anconductor on the Long IslandnRail Road and that one is a copnin the city and this one is anforeman at Grumman—but arendressed in stiff khaki slacks and anzippered jacket from when theynwere in Korea. Their skin isnblue-white. They look soft andnlost without their uniforms.nI suppose the reader will wondernwhether their skin was really “bluewhite,”nthough perhaps there is somethingnstrange about the drinking waternin Noonan’s hometown of Massapequa.nAnyway, there is worse to come:n