As Ronald Reagan flies off into the California sunset after eight years in the White House, as George Bush succeeds the nation’s first two-term president since Eisenhower, the assessments of the Reagan administration begin. One such assessment—that of U.S. foreign policy under the Great Communicator—is presented by James Nathan in this issue. In Mr. Nathan’s view, foreign policy under the Reaganites seemed “subject to only two criteria: would it “fly” on the evening news; and, would the president “look all right”. . . . To be sure, national goals still existed, husbanded by the remnant civil service. But serious public discourse was circumvented by the judicious use of blue lights and zingy one-liners. For six years, much of U.S. policy dreamily wandered in the realm of the pretend and the demi-real.”
A professor of international relations at the University of Delaware, Mr. Nathan is a former member of the United States Foreign Service. He is a former Scholar-in-Residence at the Naval War College, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as a worldwide lecturer for the U.S. Information Agency in 1981—1982, 1983, and 1987. He has been a consultant to the Strategic Research Center and the Department of the Army, and was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Australia during 1987. He received his doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and is the co-author of Foreign Policy Making and the American Political System first published by Little, Brown in 1983 and republished in a second revised edition in 1987. He has also written on international relations for numerous periodicals, including the Journal of Strategic Studies, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy. He did a similar assessment of President Carter’s foreign policy for VQR in its Winter 1981 issue.
A prolific author and noted scholar, Russell Fraser is a professor of English at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His most recent book is the biography, Young Shakespeare, published last summer by Columbia. He is also the author of The Three Romes—the Rome of the Caesars, the Constantinople of the Emperors, and the Moscow of the Czars. He has written half a dozen other books, including A Mingled Yard: The Life of R.P. Blackmur, and The Dark Ages and the Age of Gold, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1973. His VQR essay, “Wadi Bashing in Arabia Deserta,” published in the Spring of 1987, has recently been selected and published in The Best American Essays 1988, edited by Annie Dillard and Robert Atwan.
Kent Nelson received an Emily Clark Balch Prize in 1975 for his story “The Humpbacked Bird” and has been a consistent contributor of short stories to this journal ever since. Mr. Nelson grew up in Colorado and graduated from Yale and from Harvard Law School. He taught one year in the maximum security prison at South Walpole, Massachusetts, and has traveled considerably, including two years in Europe, a year in Montana, and two years on the South Carolina coast. He began his writing career exactly 20 years ago and last year completed a novel, All Around Me Peaceful, which Delacorte/ Delta will publish in May. Mr. Nelson is also putting together another collection of stories and beginning his second year as a squash coach at Exeter Academy, where his wife is a member of the English department. One of his earlier VQR stories involved “The Squash Player,” in this case a player past his prime.
Dave Smith is director of the creative writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a distinguished poet whose most recent collection, The Roundhouse Voices: Selected and New Poems, his ninth, was published by Harper & Row in 1985.
Mark Halliday’s first collection, Little Star, was published in the National Poetry Series by Quill/Morrow in 1987. He is a member of the English faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.
Audrey Bohanan recently received her MFA degree from Vermont College and now resides in South Berwick, Maine.
Roger Fanning lives on Whidbey Island in Washington State and is a student in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.
Karen Whitehill is also a student in the Warren Wilson MFA program. She lives in Charlottesville with her husband, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Virginia Medical Center, and their two boys. She is a graduate of Wesleyan and has previously published poetry in VQR.
David Dwyer is a native New Yorker who has lived, since 1974, in Lemmon, South Dakota, where he is a former member of the City Council. The poet/politician is the author of Other Men and Other Women published in 1986 by Sandhills Press.
In addition to being a poet, Thomas Lynch has another occupation: he works as a mortician in Michigan. His first book, Skating with Heather Grace, was published by Knopf in 1987. Last spring he held the Frost Place Fellowship at the Tyrone Guthrie Center for the Arts in Newbliss, Ireland.
George Watson, who was born in Australia in 1927, is a Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge, England. He is the author of The Literary Critics (Chatto & Windus), Politics and Literature in Modern Britain (Macmillan), and The Story of the Novel (Macmillan), and has been a Visiting Professor of English at the universities of Georgia and Minnesota, and at New York University. He is also a frequent contributor to The Hudson Review where he publishes lively essays on British cultural and theatrical life.
Paul Barolsky is chairman of the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Walter Pater’s Renaissance and Infinite Jest: Wit and Humor in Italian Renaissance Art, for which he recently received a small royalty for the Japanese edition.
Peter Makuck is the editor of Tar River Poetry, and a member of the English faculty at East Carolina University in North Carolina. His chapbook of poems, Pilgrims, was published by Ampersand Press in 1987 and won the 1988 Brockman Award for the best book published by a North Carolinian. In addition to his VQR story, his stories have appeared in recent issues of The Yale Review, and The Hudson Review.
Samuel F. Pickering, Jr.’s latest escapade in essays recounts his experiences in running for the Board of Education in Mansfield, Connecticut, where he, his wife Vicki, and their sons reside. Running a noncampaign, much to his surprise Mr. Pickering was elected. A frequent contributor to VQR, he has also published essays in Chicago Review, National Review, Sewanee Review, and Reader’s Digest. Collections of essays have resulted in three books: A Continuing Education, The Right Distance, and, most recently, May Days, published by Iowa last summer.
Stuart James, a resident of Denver and an emeritus professor at the University of Denver, did not begin writing short fiction until his retirement several years ago. He served as first pilot on a Flying Fortress out of England in 1944 and has written a series of stories about his experiences of which “Mission #13” is the latest. An earlier story, “Mission #6,” appeared in this journal in the Summer 1987.
Darden Asbury Pyron is a member of the history faculty at Florida International University. He is a native South Carolinian and an acknowledged authority on Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind, so much so that he is completing a biography of Mrs. Mitchell to be published by Oxford. He holds a doctorate in history from the University of Virginia.
George Core has been the editor of The Sewanee Review for more than a decade. He was co-editor of a collection of the letters of John Crow Ransom, published by Louisiana. He went to England and Ireland with his wife, Susan, last summer, and an account of their London theatre-going appears in the current issue of the Hudson Review.
Jefferson Hunter is an associate professor of English at Smith College and the author of Edwardian Fiction.
A veteran newspaperman, Robert Mason is editor emeritus of the Norfolk-Virginian Pilot. He is a native of Mebane, North Carolina, where he first encountered the family that is the subject of his review. His memoirs, appearing under the title, One of the Neighbors’ Children, were published by Algonquin Books in 1987.
W. D. Ehrhart, a Marine veteran of Vietnam, teaches at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia. His latest collection of poems is Winter Bells, published by Adastra Press last year.
Philip F. Gura is professor of English and American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory. Puritan Radicalism in New England, 1620—1660, published by Wesleyan.
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