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The Green Room, Spring 1980


ISSUE:  Spring 1980

The memoirs of most diplomats are usually greeted with a loud yawn by the reading public, and even those which enjoy a moderate success (e.g., Dean Acheson, George Kennan) are not what publishers consider blockbuster books. That, however, was hardly the case when former National Security Council chief and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger produced the first volume of his White House Years last fall. Despite its length (1,521 pages), despite its cost ($22.50), despite the fact that it only covers a 50-month period (from Kissinger’s Security Council appointment in 1968 to the end of Nixon’s first term in 1973), and despite its critics, Volume 1 quickly became Number 1 on the best seller lists. Still, for all its details and all its explanations, there were those who felt the former secretary was evasive over one issue, namely the Nixon administration’s role in the destruction of Cambodia. That role had earlier been described in devastating terms by William Shawcross, a young British journalist whose book, Sideshow, appeared several months before the Kissinger tome. Both books are the subject of Michael Nelson’s essay in the current issue. But the main purpose of Mr. Nelson’s examination is to explain why the State Department declined so drastically in its prestige and power during the years from Kennedy through Kissinger. A political scientist with a special interest in the workings of the federal bureaucracy, Mr. Nelson received his B. A. degree from the College of William and Mary and his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.

If economics is the “dismal science,” economists are, as Richard Selden documents, abysmal prognosticators. Undaunted and unbowed, however, Mr. Selden looks not only back to the 70’s but also forward to see what lies ahead for us economically in the 80’s. Mr. Selden holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago. He began his teaching career at the University of Massachusetts and has since served on the faculties of Vanderbilt, Columbia, Cornell, and the University of Virginia, where he is currently the Carter Glass Professor of Economics and former department chairman.

The name of Nancy Hale should be a familiar one to readers of VQR, since she has been contributing short stories, articles, and book reviews to this magazine for several decades now. Her first novel appeared in the early 1930’s, and Miss Hale has been writing fiction ever since. Her novels include The Prodigal Women, The Sign of Jonah, and Dear Beast.

Ralph E. Luker, who recently joined the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, received his B. A. and B. D. degrees from Duke University and his M. A. and Ph. D. degrees from the University of North Carolina. He has served on the faculties of the University of North Carolina and Allegheny College.

Cynthia Huntington is a poet living in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

A member of the faculty at Southern Methodist University, Jack Myers won the Texas Institute of Letters Award in 1978 for his book, The Family War. His work has recently appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, and Quarterly West. He is now completing a new manuscript of poems.

Also a resident of Provincetown, Massachusetts is Keith Althaus. He has been associated for a number of years with that town’s Fine Arts Work Center.

Rich Ives is director of the Interlibrary Loans Office of the University of Montana Library. He has published poems and translations (German) in numerous journals, including Poetry Northwest, Northwest Review, and Seneca Review.

A resident of New York City, Elaine Epstein has written poetry for Pequod, Ploughshares, and other magazines.

John Witte is the author of Loving the Days, which Wesleyan published in 1978. He has poems forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Poetry Northwest, and The New Yorker.

A lawyer by profession, Lawrence Russ is a poet by choice. He practices law in Chicago, and he publishes poems in such magazines as The Nation, The Iowa Review, and Chelsea.

Terese Svoboda is currently preparing a film series for public television on oral poetry as it is performed around the world. Others of her poems will be forthcoming in Paris Review and New England Review.

James Applewhite is a poet residing in Durham, North Carolina, where he is associated with Duke University.

A former recipient of a National Education Association grant, Rita Dove has spent much of the past year in Israel and southern Europe. She has published a chapbook with Penumbra Press.

A member of the history faculty at the University of Virginia, Robert J. Brugger is the author of Beverley Tucker: Heart over Head in the Old South, a study of intellectual, social, and political changes between the Revolution and the Civil War. He is also editor of House of Many Gables: Psychological Approaches to American History, an anthology which Johns Hopkins will publish this fall. His VQR essay on recent books about the antebellum South was written while he was serving the 1978—79 academic year as an Andrew Mellon Faculty Fellow at Harvard.

Robb Forman Dew’s story, “Grandmother’s House,” appeared in VQR’s Winter 1979 issue. Her work has since appeared in The New Yorker, and she is currently completing her first novel. That MRS. DEW should have literary talent is not surprising: she is the granddaughter of John Crowe Ransom.

David M. Wyatt is an assistant professor of English at the University of Virginia. His essay on Hemingway forms a coda to the chapter on Hemingway in his forthcoming book, Prodigal Sons: A Study in Authorship and Authority, which Johns Hopkins will publish this spring.

Jessie Schell was born in Greensville, Mississippi the same year a fellow citizen produced an autobiography that has since become a classic. The year was 1941, the fellow citizen was William Alexander Percy, and the autobiography was Lanterns on the Levee. Like another former Greenville resident, Mr. Percy’s nephew Walker, Ms. Schell has pursued a career of creative writing. Her work has appeared in the Carolina Quarterly, McCall’s, and the O. Henry Prize Story Collections, 1975 and 1978. Her novel Sudina was published by Dutton and Avon.

An historian by profession, John Hammond Moore lives in Washington, D. C., which may account for his interest in the historical course of the cocktail. He received his doctorate from the University of Virginia and is the author of works as varied as a history of Albemarle County and The Faustball Tunnel: German Prisoners of War in America and Their Great Escape.

One of the nation’s more eminent historians, Carl N. Degler won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1972 for his book Neither Black Nor White, a work which also received the Bancroft Prize and was co-winner of the Beveridge Prize. His other publications include Out of Our Past: The Forces that Shaped Modem America, Affluence and Anxiety, and The Other South: Southern Dissenters in the Nineteenth Century. Mr. Degler has taught at Vassar College, Columbia University, and Oxford University, where he held the Harmsworth Professorship at Queen’s College. He is now the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University.

A professor of classics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, J. A. S. Evans received his B. A. from the University of Toronto and his Ph. D. from Yale. He is the author of a book on Procopius of Caesarea and has just completed one on Herodotus. He is editor of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, an annual publication.

John J. Corson notes that he made his first contribution to the VQR “40 years ago (!)” and that it, like his current review, concerned a group of books published by the Brookings Institution. The author of nine books himself, Mr. Corson has been a businessman, a professor at Princeton, and advisor to two successive Secretaries of Health, Education and Welfare (John W. Gardner and Wilbur J. Cohen). Allegedly retired, he still serves as a consultant to the governments of Tanzania, Salvador, Panama, Turkey, and Argentina.

Jay Parini is a member of the English faculty at Dartmouth College and a co-editor of the New England Review. Like the subject of his essay review, Stanley Kunitz, he is also a poet, and he recently published his first novel.

Michael P. Todaro is a professor of economics at New York University and senior associate at the Center for Policy Studies, The Population Council. From 1968—1974 he was associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation, serving both in the U. S. and at universities in eastern Africa. He is the author of numerous articles and books on the subject of economic development, including a leading textbook in the field, Economic Development in the Third World.

A professor of history at Syracuse University for more than a decade, Ralph Ketcham is particularly concerned with the development of American thought. He is also one of the country’s foremost authorities on James Madison, having served as an associate editor and editor of The Papers of James Madison. His 1971 biography of Madison was nominated for the National Book Award. He is also the author of a biography of Benjamin Franklin.

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsW. W. AbbotJ. C. LevensonKenneth W. ThompsonIan StevensonRoger ShattuckElisabeth R. Aaron, Business Manager

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