Tucson Daily Citizen from Tucson, Arizona on May 13, 1967 · Page 35
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Tucson Daily Citizen from Tucson, Arizona · Page 35

Tucson, Arizona
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 13, 1967
Page 35
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A Perfect Fit Reviewed by W. G. ROGERS WASHINGTON, D. C. By Gore Vidal. Little, Brown $6.95. Have we changed from republic to dictatorship? Did Franklin D. Roosevelt double- talk us out of a tidy isolationism via the glamourous Four Freedoms into the last great empire on earth? That's the way it is according to this Gore Vidal novel, as neatly charted, plotted and connived as a jigsaw puzzle, e v e r y piece sandpapered down to the perfect fit within the exciting over-all pattern. The story covers the years 1937 -- 1952. The background consists of the court-packing affray, the visit of England's sovereigns, Lend-Lease, Pearl Harbor, FDR's later elections, his choice of Truman, the rise of Senator McCarthy, the appearance of Eisenhower and Stevenson. In the foreground are a newspaper tycoon and his family, a senator and his family, and a young politician on the make. Blaise Sanford h a s a p a p e r , unlimited wealth, a stooge to write the stories he - needs, a daughter Enid and a son Peter -- Peter, who, catching Enid and the young politico Clay Overbury making love, gets the story off to a lusty start. Senator Burden Day has a daughter Diana very very much in love with Clay, a n o n d e s c r i p t wife, and a streak of honesty that collides with a desperate longing to be president. A lot of the intriguing conflict arises from the "contrast between a man's carefully drawn public image and his true self. Clay Overbury seems to be a war hero because the obliging press so portrays him; he takes pride in loyalties but doesn't balk at cutting the throat of a mentor and friend, or sleeping with any and every woman available. Senator Burden Day is the picture of respectability but oil man Nillson can get to him with a big campaign contribution. Sanford would like to boost a man into the White House, though maybe part of his interest is an illicit love for the man himself. The Communist proves to be a turncoat. An act of parental discipline takes on the appearance of murder; there is a spicy incestuous incident; and there are homosexuals. Peter, who grows up to edit a n independent journal, seems to be the only honest man in the entire cast -- and even he has one blemish on his record. Mrs. Irene Bloch strikes me as being an unfortunate characterization as the only Jewish woman in these pages. On the other hand, Enid with her spontaneous, spasmodic comments is a perfectly charming, if tragic, creation. There are pat, effective twists of the plot as A gets something on B, who gets something on C, who gets something on A. The moral seems to be summed up in the last paragraphs. The; senator, though he really believed he should not do some things, did one and was stupidly caught. Clay Overbury believes the only thing one ought never to o i s t o l o s e t h e game .. . He's exactly what the times require." Some readers may wonder ii it isn't true that the United States became a world power as much because of what the outside world did as because of her own acts; may wonder whether it wasn't as much a presidential dictatorship under Theodore Roosevelt as under Franklin; may wonder whether even Diogenes would not have found more honest men than Vidal; and may wonder whether this isn't, more cynical than realistic, o r whether craftsmanship can't sometimes be too crafty. But this is an extremely well-made, well-written story whose direct and immediate appeal will surely bury deep any vague questions about ultimate truths. Gore Vidal Briefly Noted THE NEW LONDON SPY. Edited by Hunter Davies. David White Co. $6. This new and promising series has an ancient English progenitor, the "London Spy," published in 1703 by a tavernkeeper to alert his guests to the city's excitements. This "New London Spy," while unable to match the baiting of lunatics or the whipping of women in the 18th century version, nevertheless does an agreeable job of showing you London at its cultural, gustatory, titillating best. It is far more than a guide book: indeed its information is anything but the usual tourist guff. The contributors include the poet John Betjeman, publisher Anthony Blond, and critic Martin Green, all of whom wield a delightfully candid pen. Of one firm of Savile Row tailors, the writer admits frankly: "Traditional -don't like publicity of this sort." In another article we are informed, deadpan, that "there is absolutely nowhere for the visitor to go for a serious conversation at 10:30 in the morning." Next in the series will be "New York Spy," which should be well worth waiting for. DAYS OF DAVID BEN-GURION. Introduction by S. Y. Agnon. Grossman Publishers. $10. Though David Ben-Gurion is no longer premier of Israel, he remains a patriarchal figure in the history of that nation. This illustrated history of his career'begins with the Russian-born student landing in Jaffa in 1906 to devote his life thereafter to the unswerving aim of a reborn Israel. S. Y. Agnon, Nobel Prizewinning author, contributes a brief but eloquent foreword in which he recalls the yearning of countless generations of Jews for their own homeland. "Ben-Gurion waited not," he intones, "but did it with God's blessing" -- plus that of the United Nations. In these pages Ben-Gurion is seen at work, at rest with his books, relaxing in his Negev home, being received as honored guest in world capitals, and always planning and striving for his country This handsome tribute was printed and bound in Israel. It can hold its own with comparable productions in this country or Europe. CONQUEROR OF THE WORLD: The Life of Chingis Khan. By Rene Grousset. Grossman Publishers. $6.95. The late Harold Lamb, who wrote a good popular life of Genghis Khan (to use the more familiar spelling), once said that there wasn't enough known about the Mongolian conqueror to make a full length biography. This work by the celebrated French orient- alist, Rene Grousset (1885-1952), proves otherwise. The narrative is remarkably detailed in its panorama of the peoples inhabiting the Upper Asian steppes in the 12th and 13th centuries. Grousset was fascinated by great leaders of men, and his Genghis Khan is every inch the leader bestriding his world like a colossus. To read this book, with its impassioned prose (which has been splendidly preserved in the translation), is to be taken back to a remote time and place of which little is known except to scholars. Grousset's research lies back of every statement he makes. I hope the appearance of this voii'tne heralds other ^English translations of Grousset's writings. May is N a l i o n a l Hearing M o n t h ! HEARING AID SALE Scars offers a complete line of Hearing Aids--priced ivith you in mind'i 1. Conventional Aids 2. Behind-the-ear Aid* 3. Eye-Glass Aids 4. All~in-the-ear Aids SAVE 20% Limited Time Only! Regular $219 SAVE $43.80 Eye-Glass Hearing Aids 175 20 Enjoy the comfort of having your hearing aid in your glasses. Come in or call for a free hearing test. Save now t ! ACTUAL SIZE Behiml-the-ear Aids Reg. $199 1RQ20 Save $39.80 I U3* w Weighs less than half aa ounce with battery. Powerful as many large instruments. ' ACTUAL SIZE All-iii-llie-ear Aids Reg. $239 1Q120 Save $47.80 * «* ' So small it fits entirely in y o u r ear! No wires or cords. Weighs o n l y 1/8 ounce. Body Aids Reg. $179. .vSaVe $35.80 Fitted to your special requirements. · "1 /J O20 KM Adjustable volume control! 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