32 / CHRONICLESnInvasion of thenChild-SnatchersnThe Child Abuse Industry: OutrageousnFacts & Everyday RebeUionsnAgainst a System that ThreatensnEvery North American Family bynMary Pride, Westchester, IL: CrosswaynBooks; $8.95.nWho has more rights in the Americannjudicial system—a man accused ofnmurder or one accused of child abuse?nThe accused murderer is guaranteednthe good old English right of trial bynjury; he’s presumed innocent untilnproved guilty. He may even demand ancourt-appointed lawyer (if he can’t affordnhis own). The accused child abusernis tried by French law: He’s presumednguilty until proved innocentnand may even lose his children withoutnso much as a court hearing. MarynPride drives home the disturbing contrastnbetween the accused murderernand the accused child abuser as one ofnthe many points in her hard-hittingnexpose on the crusading “childsavers.”nAfter poking holes in the vastly inflatednand self-serving child-abuse statisticsnthat bureaucrats and journalistsnbandy about, she shows how therapeuticnprofessionals have turned publicnsympathy for the abused child into anblank check for their own agencies.nFew things are sadder than the rarencases of genuine child abuse, butnmedia hysteria and licensed childsnatchingncan only make things worse.nPride recounts instances of socialnworkers dragging screaming childrennaway from parents later proved to beninnocent of everything but movingnnext to busybodies. Other guiltlessnfamilies have suffered financial ruinnbecause of the court costs of fightingnanonymous accusers and groundlessncharges. In Seattle, 1,500 familiesnfalsely accused of child abuse havenfiled a $1.5 billion class-action suitnagainst the State of Washington fornunjustiy seizing their children and disruptingntheir families.nBut besides collecting horror stories,nPride has compiled all of the childabusenlaws, state by state, in a usefulnappendix. (If the vagueness of thesenstatutes doesn’t scare you, just considernthat those accused can argue their casenbefore a jury only in the state ofnUtah—everywhere else, a single socialnworker or judge may hand downnthe verdict. Here in Illinois, the ChicagonTribune recently reported thatnofficials once encouraged state “investigators”nsimply to classify all reports ofnchild abuse as “true” and pass themnalong to case workers.) In her conclusion,nPride outlines a sensible agendanof things average people can do to helpnchange a deplorable situation. Footnotesnand an excellent bibliographynattest to painstaking research. Too badnthat in deciding not to do an index, thenpublisher limited the book’s value as anreference book and so reduced thennumber of libraries likely to buy it.n(BC)nLove and Deathnby Michael WardernLife and Fate by Vasily Grossman,nNew York: Harper & Row.nPerhaps it is inevitable that Life andnFate by Vasily Grossman has beenncompared to Leo Tolstoy’s War andnPeace. There are obvious parallels.nTolstoy wrote a lengthy book on thenunsuccessful Napoleonic invasion ofnRussia, while Grossman wrote anlengthy book on the unsuccessful Nazininvasion of the Soviet Union. Bothnworks also deal with central philosophicalnissues, especially causality andnmeaning of history and man’s freedom,nor lack of it. Both authors alsonclustered their numerous charactersnaround a central family. But thesenobvious parallels are not enough tonpronounce, as some have done, thatnGrossman is a “Soviet Tolstoy” and hisnepic “the great Russian novel of thentwentieth century.” Besides, even thenmost laudatory critics have not proclaimednLife and Fate “the greatestnnovel ever written.” John Galsworthy,nE.M. Forster, Hugh Walpole, andnothers have used such superlatives tondescribe War and Peace. Nonetheless,nLife and Fate surely is a good historicalnnovel, and perhaps a great one. It alsonmust be seen as a courageous witnessnto the ugly similarities of Nazi andnSoviet totalitarianism.nThe setting for the action of Lifenand Fate is late 1942 and the spring ofnnn1943. The focus is Stalingrad, althoughnSiberia, Moscow, a GermannPOW camp, and the German front arenwoven into the setting as well. Grossmanndoes not focus on Stalin andnHitler and the key generals of thenStalingrad siege. Instead, he’s concernednwith a tank commander, anscientist, a commissar, and a variety ofnother seemingly lesser mortals. Tolstoynsought to debunk the “great man”ntheory of history and the idea thatnwriters, whom he called “scribblers,”ndetermine history. He focused on Napoleon,nleader of France and thenFrench army, and General Kutuzov,nthe apparently bungling military leadernwho used to fall asleep during keynstaff meetings, but who knew his limitsnand rallied his army to victory.nTolstoy’s sense of scale was greaternthan Grossman’s. War and Peace spansnevents from 1805 to 1812. AlthoughnNapoleon’s attack on Moscow was innmany respects successful, as the citynwas burnt to the ground and the Russiannarmy retreated, it is not Moscownthat is the focus of Tolstoy’s piece.nRather, it is the whole process ofnconflict between the armies, from thenBattle of Austerlitz, to Borodino, tonthe series of skirmishes after the pillagenof Moscow that all led to the Frenchnretreat. Indeed, Tolstoy goes out of hisnway to belitde the idea that there wasnone decisive battie. He points insteadnto the will of the Russians and theirnarmy to destroy their own cities, or letnthe French do it, rather than let thenFrench defeat them. He also showsnthat the Russian army, after retreatingnfour months across the breadth ofnEuropean Russia, simply refused toncapitulate.nIn Stalingrad it seems the situationnwas different. Stalin drew a line beforenthe city with his name and orderednthat it be held at all costs. The battlenseemed decisive when the Soviets perseverednand mounted their effectivencounterattack and encircled the SixthnArmy of Field Marshall von Paulus.nAnd yet, what actually happened is notntoo clear, despite all the ensuing propaganda.nOne of the interesting characters innLife and Fate that illustrates the falsehoodnof the accepted Soviet view ofnStalingrad is Captain Grekov. Henholds Stalin and the Communist Partynin utter contempt. He defends a keyn