Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 13, 1976 · Page 93
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 93

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 13, 1976
Page 93
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Page 93 article text (OCR)

SPEAKING OF ROOKS Soldier out-of-touch Economists in conflict "A SOLDIER REPORTS," -- General William C. Westmoreland, Doubleday Co., ?12.95 Hollywood is reported to have begun work on a motion picture based upon the life and experiences of Gen. Westmoreland. It will attempt to capture the essence of this recently published book by the now retired' general. That fact should assure a reading of this book when it reaches the paperback stage. The devoted war story reader will also see to it that Doubleday doesn't go in the red over this book. Back in the p r o h i b i t i o n e r a , a drink appeared on the scene. It was called "near beer." With all the look and even the taste of real beer, it lacked the essential component, alcohol. In other words, it was a bottled fraud claiming to be something other than it really was. No kick, no yeast, no essence. .1 Soldier He/torts is "near beer." Any resemblance to w h a t really took place in the history of our involvement in Vietnam is purely a cosmetic effect. It is "near beer" documentation primarily because of what it leaves out. The yeast so vital is lacking. How anyone close to the events of Vietnam can write what proclaims to be a serious documentation with- Greek island romance "THE SEA KING'S DAUGHTER," by Barbara Michaels; Dodd, Mead Co., $7.95 This is a first-rate book to take along on your vacation, or to read on a lazy a f t e r n o o n in the hammock. It has everything for light summer reading. The setting is the volcanic Greek island of Thera. The heroine is a young girl who joins an archeological underwater research team and falls in love with a handsome young archeologist. There's a wealth of mythology s p r i n k l e d t h r o u g h o u t the story, there's more than a hint of reincarnation, there are ancient sacrificial rituals involved. Plus--underwater explorations and the discovery of a whole fleet of treasure ships on the ocean floor, preserved by volcanic ash. And to cap it all off. there's a slam-bang, rip-roaring earthquake and volcanic eruption. What more could you want? A u t h o r M i c h a e l s ' p u t s i t a l l t o - gether in an intriguing, well-written package that is guaranteed to hold your attention from beginning to end. She is the author of many other favorites: Ammic, Come Home, Prince of narkncss. The Murk on the Other Side, (.reyptil- lou-s. If'itrh, and House 0} .i/nny SAnf/rws, for starters. A splendid romantic adventure story. Recommended. Anne Howard ^·:"t-'Mai:azinc. -June 1:1. 197H out even dealing with the character of Ho Chi Mini) or the significance of the Pentagon Papers or the reporting of Seymour Hersh and David Halberstam ( w h o on three brief occasions gives him a flick of the wrist by excusing him as "young") or the writings of Bernard Fall (too busy to read h i m ) or the h u g e Southeast Asian drug ring controlled by the "heroes" in South Vietnam, is beyond any reasonable understanding. This is a shallow book in almost every respect. It is spiced with little anecdotes about famous people we've grown tired of hearing about like Billy Graham, John Wayne, and Bob Hope. It pretends at intimacy as we get glimpses,of Westmoreland, in robe, eating from a tray in Lyndon Johnson's bedroom. The reader .is l e f t to w o n d e r . Johnson finally ate humble pie over his stance regarding the war. How come Westmoreland, the advisor who whispered military advice into the President's ear. gets off without even t a s t i n g one morsel of crow? Westmoreland has never understood why the war failed. Like a good general he is still in search of the missing ingredient which would have caused the game plan to go as scheduled. "If only we'd have . . ." Please, general, read Halbertstam or Fall or Fitzgerald or someone who could have warned you as to what it was all about. The General doesn't understand why the war f a i l e d . It f a i l e d because the nation really didn't have any soul invested in it. It had nothing to do with dollars or troop commitment or mining of harbors, but rather it had to do with heart. We had no heart in it. The way to a nation's heart is through its stomach and we had no stomach for Vietnam. The protest movement was totally misunderstood by Westmoreland. Shocked by the excesses of the demonstrations he nonetheless can tell his reader that some Americans "seemed to believe you could fight one of history's more brutal enemies w i t h o u t h u r t i n g o r k i l l - ings." Too bad that the general was not able to face his own naivete' about w h a t a real protest looks like. This book is to be avaoided at all cost. Save the money. Spend part of it to see the movie, if you must, so t h a t you can get a look at John W a y n e , who surely w i l l get the lead. The remainder of the cash might well be sent to Michael Allen. Dean at the Yale D i v i n i t y School. He will see that it is forwarded to Bach Mai Hospital in North Vietnam. We leveled it one C h r i s t m a s . And W e s t m o r e l a n d doesn't even mention it. Rev. James Lewis Mr. Lewis is rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, Charleston. Paperbacks "THE NETWORK JUNGLE, by David Lew, $1.95. " L I V E A N D B E FREE T H R U PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS." by Charles Schreiber. and Maxwell Malt/, $1.95. * * * "LUNACEPTION." by Luise Lacey. $1.75. * * + "THE DARK SIDE OF GAME- LOT," by Nelson Thompson, SI.75. * * + "REST WERNER ERHARD," by Pat R. Marks, 51.95. BUSINESS CIVILIZATION IN DECLINE, by Robert L. Heilbroner, Norton, $6.95. ECONOMISTS AT BAY, Why the Experts Will Never Solve Your Problems, by Robert Lekachman, McGraw-Hill, S8.95. Should the United States do anything about inequities between its rich and its poor'.' Should we at- t e m p t to solve this problem by means of more economic planning? Sometimes you have to wonder if the people who ought to know the answers to such questions -- I mean, of course, the economists -aren't simply creating confusion. Take Robert Heilbroner. the author of Husini'ss C.irilisntion in Decline., and Robert Lekachjjian, whose latest book is Kconiiniistt at liny. Both are reputable economists who hold teaching positions in New York City's higher-learning institutions H e i l b r o n e r as N o r m a n Thomas professor of economics at the New School for Social Research; Lekachman as distinguished professor of economics at Lehman College. Both are thinkers of liberal persuasion, to judge from the record of their previous writings. Each respects the other's ideas, if dust- jacket blurbs and passing textural c i t a t i o n s a r e v a l i d evidence. I n s h o r t , o n e would expect them to agree on a course for our economic future, or at least to write books with dovetailing conclusions as to what ought now to be done. Yet one comes away from reading these two books, in conflict. For un the one hand Heilbroner lakes a relatively pessimistic view of central planning: He thinks that in the very long run. it is inevitable, but beyond defining its effect on capitalism in terms of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, he of- Marks of Greatness j By Kay Haugaard In the course of my rather spotty reading I have found that I have many things in common with several great men of history. At the risk I of appearing presumptious, I will I state some of these discoveries. j Starting with the oldest in point I of history, Socrates, if you can be- j lieve what Plato said, is reputed to have known that he knew very little. In this I equal him completely, and in point of fact, become more like him d a i l y . It w o u l d seem u n l i k e l y t h a t a woman would have much in common with a great military genius, but I modestly put forth that both N a p o l e o n and I h a v e in c o m m o n that we are both considerably undersized--"runts." to use my husband's expressive terminology. To bring the study up to more recent times, I humbly claim Albert F.instein as another collossus with whom I have something indisputably in common. He was much given to wearing baggy sweaters and no stockings and looking pretty seedy, sartorially speaking. I hate to'ap- pear boastful, but in this point I believe I clearly surpass Dr. Einstein. To this my husband will lend his all too willing testimony. Albert Schweitzer is another with whom my soul c o u n t s k i n s h i p in t h a t Dr. Schweitzer and I both write on any old scrap of paper at hand. I find my sons' arithmetic papers, a past-due notice from the l i b r a r y and a piece of j u n k m a i l f r o m the E v e r l a s t i n g I n s u r a n c e Co.. all furnish excellent grist for my pen. Whether in my case it is reverence for p a p e r , ecological consciousness, a neurotic compulsion or the simple fact that I'm too cheap to buy enough paper w i l l p r o b a b l y forever r e m a i n a mys- tery, but the fact is that these ties to the m e n t a l giants of past and present give me a heady f e e l i n g and not a little solace. The world seems so f i l l e d w i t h snares and booby traps for my poor, vulnerable ego that I need all the help I can get and don't peer too closely into the logical underpinnings of a perfectly functional bit of consolatory philosophy. You might try looking into the matter yourself. Perhaps you too have hidden kinships with the great men and women of past and present. You over there, scratching the flea bites around your ankles, did you k n o w that M i c h e l a n g e l o frequently lay down in his studio fully clothed and slept without even removing his boots? He would go for weeks and (it is rumored) even m o n t h s w i t h o u t c h a n g i n g h i s clothes. fers no view of what a centrally planned economy will be like. In contrast, Lekachman has extremely high hopes for central planning; his only ground for pessimism is that contemporary economists lack of necessary vision to urge its implementation immediately. Now let me confess that I have had to skew these respective arguments considerably to set them in such apparent symmetrical opposition. The aims and viewpoints of the two books are really very different from each other. Lekachman is looking at (he shorter run. while Heilbroner is gazing far into the future. Lekachman is writing in a w i t t i l y p o l e m i c a l s p i r i t , w h i l e Heilbbroner is being drily analytical. Lekachman has taken a radical stance with respect to the current political scene, while Heilbroner remains far above the fray. There is much to be gotten from the two books aside from their authors' respective conclusions concerning central planning. Heilbroner has provocative points to make about future phases of capitalism that certain observers have been predicting. For instance, in contrast to D a n i e l B e l l , he d o e s n ' t really believe in a form of "postindustrial," capitalism that will embody s u b s t a n t i a l l y d i f f e r e n t market dynamics from the present industrial phase. As for Lekachman -- he ranges all the way from current events to b i o g r a p h y in support of a thesis that his profession is failing us dismally. To show what contemporary economists are like, he offers us a hlow-by-blow account of the failings of economic policy in the 1960's and 1970's(he is especially outraged by the profession's support of the Nixon Administration's wage and price controls). And to show what these same economists arc not like, he gives us admiring t h u m b n a i l s k e t c h e s o f A d a m Smith, Karl Marx, Thorstcin Veblen, and John Mynard Keynes. All the same; I read both books because I was curious about the future of central economic planning. Recently, the tide seems to have been f l o w i n g a g a i n s t it. We are quite evidently in an era of reaction against the superplanning of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. K e y n e s i a n i s m , the beacon of economic planning, is supposed to have gone out (this has been confirmed by no less than John Kenneth Gailbraith, who said that nobody was a Keynesian any more, just as President Nixon was declaring himself to be one.) So one turns to books by liberal economists to see what can be said in favor of government planning. And what do they tell us? One says ··· that planning is inevitable whether we like it or not. We need only w;iit for the next hundred years to unfold. The other says we had better get busy and reinstitute planning voluntarily, but he subtitles his ar- g u m e n t "Why the E x p e r t s W i l l Never Solve Your Problems." By Christopher-Lehmann-Haupt. " Mr. Lehmann-Haupt Is a s t a f f writer for the New York Times. CIIMtl.KSTON. W.VA ,,,

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