Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas on April 11, 1976 · Page 13
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Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas · Page 13

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 11, 1976
Page 13
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Northwest Arkansas TIMES, Sunday, April 11, 1976 · 7BII Edited By Bill Williams II " ' The Gap Is Bridged In Tale Of Rabbits] By VIRGIL TALHOT FIFTEEN - R A ' B B I T S , Felix SaHen (Dclacorte -' $7.05) . Felix SalLcn is best known for his book, Bambi, Ihe princely · I deer;who appeared In the Wall I Disney film and who plays a cameo role in this book, his '·- the s t o r y of Hons a n d I I [ops PLOT FITS FRAMEWORK ..1876, By Gore Viilal (Random House $10) r^Thosc who read und enjoyed Gore Vidal's "Burr" most certainly "ougiit to be " t a k e n ' w i t h r'JB7G," a continuation of the Ifte iitid times of Charlie Schuy- iev, the illegitimate son ol Aa- XQII Burr and narrator of both these absorbing novels. «"1876" picks up Schuyler's life as lie returns to his imlive . :UniLcd States after a long "Sojourn in Europe where he has established a literary rcputa- , tton. . Schuyler has been badly IjurL financially by Ihe Panic of 1$73 and now, at 63, I himself having to scurry for the money needed to support himself tind his widowed daughter, Emma, who has accompanied him home. ·Sctiuylor has two aims: to ,tind his daughter a proper bus- KTmd, and to ingratiate himself With Samuel Tilden,- the fa- 'Vorcd presidential candidate, in hopes of getting the minis- tc'rshin to'France after Tilderi, hopefully, is elected. But what makes this book so terribly interesting is not Schuyler's travails, but the expert way in which, Vidal effortlessly fits irT to the plot framework the countless details that made up the way life was in this nation's centennial year. Corruption at Ihe highest levels of government, the fading of the patriotic fervor that marked Ihe nation's earlUcsl years, the tarnishing of idealism - all are fully and entertainingly documented by Vidal as he takes Scliuylcr on his journey through a country in convulsion. : Add to this Vidal's unerring eye for factual accuracy -what the people wore, what they ate, what the buildings looked like -- and you have a thoroughly engrossing novel oE .social history. Real people from America's past mix smoothly with Vidal's fictional creations in one of the best and most ambitious novels to come along thus far this Bicentennial year. Plana, two little rabhils and their many friends ot the forest. At one point in the tale, Fosco, an old rabbit of many years, tells the young ones: "The life-time of a rabbit lasts seven, years-- eight at most. A n d - w h i l e it is beautiful, it is also full of terror and flight...Be happy that you are alive, my children." In a review ol Sallen's works, John Galsworthy admitted he did not like stories "which places ·human words in the mouth of dumb creatures." He found praise however for SaHen who could bring out the real sensations of the creatures with tie words of man. fn relating the rabbit's fear of man, Sa'Lten writes of the ack of communication: "They lid not understand one another at all, the little rabbit and the itllc children. They sverc from wo absolutely alien worlds, and .here was no bridge from one io the other." Throughout literary history writers like Salten have been Tying to bridge those two SOCIETY'S MANY ILLS TODAY A N D TOMORROW IN AMERICA. By Martin Mayer (Harper Row. $8.95). He hegan writing this book, Martin Mayer explains! in "a fairly - foul mood," unset hy among other things, recession, inflation, and Ihe decline in education. .""Out of liiat initial irrigation SSSme "Tociay and Tomorow in "Aim e r i c a . ' 1 a hard-hilling, ^thought - provoking book in ·axliich Mayer looks about close;|y; at the conlcnuwrary scene ^·ajlri does not like much of what ·'·he sees. Many of (he ills cur- ·"rently afflicting society are Ihe ^result, Mayer feels, of the inability to correctly handle four ".forces" which have affected society in the past and "are all bill cretain to dominate the continuing development of A m e r i c a n a n d European society in the next quarter °f a century." The forces are: "The vast increase in national product am wealth: the rapid growth an refinement of technology, and Its differential impact on differ ent areas of human endeavor the diminishing effectiveness o the social mechanisms b which individual choices arc or ganizcd inlo apparently in stilnfional decisions; population trends." Having defined his forces. Mayer (lien goes on to discuss lucidly just how the failure to deal wilh Iliem correctly has resulted in some of the messes society currently finds ilsclf ensnared in. One doesn't have lo agree wilh everything Mayer has to say of course, hut the hulk of what he has In say is interesting, as arc Ihe possible solutions he proposes for existing problems. His book may irri- latc but il ougllt to be read. -pt "j»'B l ^ " t l "fi*- must worlds with make believe conversation. And lo the child wilh imagination, or lo the adult who loves animals, the g a b . is bridged. The animal cannot speak in so many words, but the expressions, (he snap ot the tale, the twitch ot the ear, all send a message. Tile message is loud and clear in Sallen's book. It is a talo of Tun and frolic, of death and of love. II is the sort of book you can give your child but may end up reading it first. i THE INDIANS LAST FIGHT DEATH SONG; the L a s t of the Indian Wars, by John Edward Weems. Doubleday (SI 0.95). John David Weems makes the point t h a t one of the first Civil Rights Acts, enacted over President Andrew Johnson's veto in 1866, gave citizenship to all persons born in the United States with Ihe-exception of In- diyns. ; ' His 'book, detailing Indian wars from the time of the Civil War onward inlo the 20th century, tells one of Hie saddest chapters in American history. "The . fault lay mostly in Washington, with (he United Slates Congress, .where Irealy approval and the promised trib- lil assistance ' went unactec upon for months," Weems writes. Further, there was · dis agreement between the eivil ians who stalled the Indian Bu reau and the Army. The mil! lary maintained the bureau fed (he Indians in the winter, ant [he Army fought them in the summer. Through the book also is (old the story of Gen. George Armstrong Ouster, an erratic and perhaps unstable hero of (he Civil War. who lost his life and hat of all his fen in (he Battle of Little Big Horn. 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