Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on September 10, 1972 · Page 122
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 122

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 10, 1972
Page 122
Start Free Trial

Page 122 article text (OCR)

SPEAKING OF BOOKS Atcheson's memoirs A book-letter to Kissinger "GRAPES FROM T H O R N S , " by D e a n Atcheson. W. W. Norton Co., Inc., $7.95. When Dean Atcheson was Secretary of State under President Truman he was an extremely controversial figure. But, more than 20 years have passed since then, and men who were the centers of yesterday's storms have a way of becoming today's senior statesman. This volume of memoirs was compiled by Mr. Atcheson the year before he died. He searched bis papers to find "Grapes among the Thorns" and this book is "some fruit that had retained its flavor and its tartness." I find it difficult to become excited about the memoirs of great men. You will agree with some things in this book and disagree with others. There is also humor in it: parables about boring ladies at Washington's diplomatic dinners and a whimsical letter to Harry S. Truman about the significance of his middle initial, "S", which stood for nothing. "Grapes from" Thorns" contains commencement addresses filled with hope for brave new worlds, and formal essays written for "The Atlantic Monthly", "The New Republic", and "The Reporter". Several pieces written "In Memoriam" for Atcheson's friends are touching, to say the least. This ex-Secretary of State was an able writer, and no one can complain about his book lacking style. Many passages, are quotable, whether they be a tongue-in- cheek reply to a student annihilating the idea of writing a psychological analysis of Justice Brandeis, or a wry comment about the worth of Italians as allies when "the going gets heavy".Atcheson was equally at home corresponding with Presidents or to a sixth grade student about "What makes a Great Nation." One essay on "Southern Africa" seemed to me to be filled with more thorns than grapes. Praise for the Portuguese as colonial administrators is in my opinion, ill advised, and statements about selling the government of South Africa arms so that it can defend itself a g a i n s t outside threats, left me cold. Primarily because Atcheson seemed to be saying that the Afrikaners would not use these arms "to intimidate t h e i r own b l a c k inhabitants." Some books can be criticized severely and others praised abundantly. A third type can only be reported upon, telling the reader what they contain and letting him make up his own mind. Memoirs often fall into that category so whether or not you want to read "Grapes from Thorns" by Dean Atcheson is entirely up to you. You might be pleased with it, but on the other hand you might be disappointed. Your · opinion of the man will, have something to do with your conclusions because there is no way to separate him from his book. Robert E. DiBartolomeo Mr. DiBartolomeo is director of museums for Oglebay Park, Wheeling. Best Sellers (C) 1872 New Y*rk Times Service This analysis is based on reports obtained from more than 125 bookstores in 64 communities of the United States. FICTION "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," Bach. "The Winds of War," Wouk. "Captains and the Kings," Caldwell. "Dark Horse," Knebel. "My Name Is Asher Lev," Potok. GENERAL "I'm 0. K.-You're 0. K.," Harris. "0 Jerusalem!," Collins and Lapierre. "The Peter Prescription," Peter. "Eleanor: The Years Alone," Lash. "The Superlawyers," Goulden. THE YDUN6 CHILDREN'S ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNIC A JUNIOR ENCYCLOPAEDIA L »ic- TUMC.NEMf. (tow-re-po-ir fHOJICTJAND INTCNfSflH* COMPLETE COVERA6E WITH VOCABULARY, EASY-TO-READ TYPE. . TlNKERBELL BUBBLE AND SPRAY SET jDEAjj BEAUTIFUL RiSSY BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS suf- PROPELlEE ACTION BED WIN A PRIZE! ICOMHIH «Mp COIOI -UHll CUT OUI MlMI NUMI QI «DO«Hi M«ll 10 UNCll NuCIM Oil QP.IHH HHI M» STATE MAGAZINE, Sept, 10,1972 "DEAR HENRY" by D a n i e l l e H u n e b e l l e (Berkeley Medallion Paperback: |1.95) Dear Mile. Hunebelle: I am responding to your letter to Henry because I am not sure Henry has the time to answer these days. He is a busy man, you know, flying off to all sorts of exciting places l i k e Peking, Moscow and San Clemente, and he has a tough time keeping up with all his correspondence. Love letters, particularly, must find themselves at the bottom of his correspondence file. Letters from Chou En- lai, Kosygin and Georges Pompidou--not to speak of memos from RMN--must take precedence. But on behalf of those of us who during our lives have had the opportunity of living close to the seat of power which the Presidency of the United States respresents, your letter deserves an answer, and without asking Henry for permission, I am writing to you. First, I must say that Henry is a lucky fellow. It is too bad he didn't recognize that fact. After he leaves the White House and returns to the hallowed halls of Harvard he will come to realize what he missed. Your devotion for him comes through strongly in the pages of "Dear Henry," but I must say in addition--and I do not say it in any way to detract from your affection--that you seem to have been equally attracted by the power of the man. Highly intelligent women seem to have a magnetic attraction for men who wield power--and we both know that Henry wields as much power in Washington as any other man--with the exception of RMN. I saw the film you did on Henry for French television and I admired its qualities of s e n s i b i l i t y a n d u n - derstanding for the kind of man Henry is and the enormous pressures he faces. But, frankly, the part of the book I admired most had nothing to do with the love story. One-way love stories have never appealed to me very much. It was your description of the inner workings of the White House that fascinated me the most. Here was the picture the public rarely gets of men at work under the most difficult of circumstances. But not just ordinary men. The fate of the planet is in their hanus. It is a riddle of life or death, whether they realize it or not (and, unfortunately, some do not realize it but consider it like a game of chess). Thousands of people will not die in V i e t n a m , B i a f r a or in Bangladesh, walls will not be built in Berlin, or the most powerful persons in China will not be killed on t h e o u t c o m e o f t h e Fischer/Spassky match, but all of those things can happen as a result of the kind of advice people like Henry, or Walt of McGeorge give. To peer behind the doors where they make those decisions and to see them at work as you have done from your unusual vantage point is important for all of those who have not been there. The White House--for better or for worse--is unique in the world. You cannot walk through its doors, even if you do so for a period of time, without feeling you are somewhere special. That quality of the White House came through clearly in your letter to Henry. I found his suggestion that you should get the Pulitzer Prize for fiction most unjust. I also found fascinating your description of Henry's early life and how a poor boy, born in Germany, an immigrant to this country, could rise to a position of such influence and power in his adopted country belore- he was 50 years old. Anyway, I am glad you put your letter to Henry in the form of a book. It would have been too bad to waste such a fascinating document in a private missive to a man who obviously didn't appreciate it. 1 assure you that if the unpredictable arrives and G. S. McG. beats RMN you will be invited back for another look. Your talents and per- s o n a l i t y s h o u l d not be « wasted. From Henry, and particularly from me, Best regards. Pierre Salinger PS: After 1 had'left the While House and during the brief time I was a junior Senator from California with a position not nearly as powerful as Henry's, a young French journalist came to interview me. I ended up marrying her. It was the best decision I ever made. That's why I really feel sorry for Henry. Pierre S. One-man vigilante "DEATH WISH" by Brian Garfield David McKay Co., Inc., $4.95 Think about it for a minute. There's somebody out there in the streets who is going to kill you and you don't know who he is. And he doesn't look like a mugger, a rapist or a mad killer. He looks like somebody who could very well be your next "door neighbor. Brian Garfield has written a short, explosive novel about life and reality on New York City streets. Paul Benjamin, a successful, middle-aged accountant suffers from the loss of his wife and the commitment of his d a u g h t e r to an i n s a n e a s y l u m , both i n c i d e n t s brought about by three teenage hoods who savagely attacked the women. Paul doesn't lose control right away. All his life he has worked for volunteer, "liberal" causes. Now he is the victim of the element he tried to protect through support of w e l f a r e , better housing and equal opportunity. This type of thinking changes. Surely and precisely he becomes an arch conservative who has a right to protect himself. Paul's son-in-law. Jack, a " l i b e r a l " l a w y e r , a s bereaved as a man can be when his wife turns into a v e g e t a b l e , n e v e r t h e l e s s sticks to his work and his senses. On the other hand, Paul, on special assignment in Arizona, buys an easy gun there and returns to New York avenging. One would-be mugger Is shot and killed. Two car thieves are killed by the same .32 revolver. More deaths occur, all the victims shot by the same gun and all of them the skelli of the earth, ex-cons, dope fiends, dregs. The papers feature stories on the vigilante killer loose on the streets. Cops admire him. Psychiatrists analyze his condition. Paul Benjamin is one sick killer. Brian Garfield, the author of nine previous books, interrupted a longer novel to write "Death Wish". His time was well spent because it deals with a very important and fundamental q u e s t i o n : can a m a n , overwhelmed with the pounding pulse-beat to kill in order for him to put a stake in the barest requirements for living, take the law into-his own hands? He feels that he shouldn't have to live like this, afraid to even walk the s t r e e t s in d a y l i g h t and others shouldn't have to live like this either. He protects them before they are innocently attacked and people ask: Who is sane? Who is insane? The reader will ask h i m s e l f t h e s e s a m e questions. He will also question, toward the end of the novel when Paul commits another murder, whether or not the policeman saw Paul shoot three kids dropping rock bombs on trains or if he turned his back to watch the skyline while the "good" murderer escaped^ Jack.Donahue CHARLESTON, W. YA,

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page