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Reprint, Autumn 1985

ISSUE:  Autumn 1985

McCarthyism is now a part of the American language, a word connoting demagoguery and inquisition. That is the legacy of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the World War II veteran who in the early 1950’s launched a campaign to stamp out so-called Communists in government. He gained national prominence, only to go into a sudden decline in late 1954 when he was censured by the United States Senate. Historian David M.Oshinsky chronicled McCarthy’s rise and fall in A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy, a book columnist Jack Anderson described as “a must read both for those who lived through the era and for those who want to know what McCarthy was all about” [Free Press, $9.95]. In observance of the 40th anniversary of the Los Alamos atomic explosion, Atheneum recently republished a paper edition of Lansing Lamont’s Day of Trinity, a work first published in 1965 and the first full account of the atomic explosion in July 1945 that has haunted mankind ever since [$11.95]. The role that advertising has played in shaping American life in this century is as immense as it is incalculable, and an account of what has been called “this country’s most characteristic institution” is set forth in Stephen Fox’s The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators, now available as a Vintage Book [$4.95]. Vintage is also offering Orville Schell’s Modern Meat: Antibiotics, Hormones, and the Pharmaceutical Farm, which Studs Terkel called “a dietary sequel to Silent Spring” [$5.95]. Touchstone Books has republished Charles L.Mee, Jr.’s The Marshall Plan: The Launching of the Pax Americana, an almost day-by-day account of just how the plan that brought Western Europe to its feet after World War II was devised and carried out [$8.95]. Touchstone has also published revised and updated editions of two works dealing with economics, one being Herbert Stein’s Presidential Economics: The Making of Economic Policy from Roosevelt to Reagan and Beyond [$9.95], the other being Louis Rukeyser’s What’s Ahead for the Economy [$8.95]. Cornell Paperbacks had come out with a revised edition of William E.Leuchtenburg’s In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan, a work that examines the influence our only four-term president had on all the chief executives who succeeded him [$8.95]. Illinois is offering a paper edition of Robert M. Crunden’s Ministers of Reform: The Progressives’ Achievement in American Civilization, 1889—1920, a depiction of an era of controversy and innovation in American history [$10.95].


Lady Diana Cooper, regarded as “the greatest beauty of her age,” was born at the high noon of the British Empire and lived to see its sunset. She set forth her portrait of a vanishing aristocracy and its passing into twilight in three highly acclaimed autobiographical works, The Rainbow Comes and Goes, The Lights of Common Day, and Trumpets from the Steep, all of which have been gathered into one volume and republished in a paper edition by Carroll & Graf [$12.95]. A contemporary of Lady Diana was Vanessa Bell, the sister of Virginia Woolf, the wife of Clive Bell, and the lover of both painter and art critic Roger Fry and painter Duncan Grant. Frances Spalding recounted the life of this remarkable woman in her biography, Vanessa Bell, which has been reissued as a Harvest/HBJ paperbook [$14.95]. The relationship between Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and his contemporary, Vernon Watkins, is described in detail in Dylan Thomas and Vernon Watkins: Portrait of a Friendship, a memoir written by Watkins’ widow, Gwen, and recently republished by Washington [$17.50 cloth]. One of the great unsolved mysteries of this century, and one likely to remain unsolved, is this: was Anna Anderson truly the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the only surviving daughter of the murdered Czar Nicholas II? “Anastasia” died in February 1984, shortly after the publication of Peter Kurth’s Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson. Little, Brown has reissued Anastasia in paperback, with an afterword written specially for this edition [$9.95]. Holt, Rinehart & Winston has a paper edition of a work it bills as “the erotic chronicle of a grand American passion,” namely, Polly Longsworth’s Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd, Dickinson being the brother of poet Emily [$10.95]. Randy Roberts’ Papa Jack: Jack Johnson and the Era of White Hopes is an account of the tragic life of the first black American heavyweight champion, the most famous—and most hated—black American of his time. Free Press has come out with a paper edition of the Johnson story [$9.95], Oxford has reprinted Jane Austen: Selected Letters, 1796—1817, edited by R.W.Chapman, with an introduction by Marilyn Butler, a work described as “a delightful introduction” to Miss Austen’s life and work [$6.95]. Barbara Pym’s A Very Private Eye: An Autobiography in Diaries and Letters, edited by Hazel Holt and Hilary Pym, has been republished as a Vintage Book [$6.95]. Another recent Vintage Book is Frank Capra: The Name above the Title, an autobiography of one of the giants of American cinema, who directed such classics as It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It’s a Wonderful Life [$9.95]. Other recent Vintage Books include D.V., the autobiography of Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland [$3.95], Janet Malcolm’s In the Freud Archives, an account of a controversy involving the letters of the father of psychoanalysis [$4.95], and Geoffrey Wolffs Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Cros-by, a colorful figure of the 1920’s [$8.95]. Allison & Busby has reprinted Edward Blishen’s Sorry, Dad, Blishen’s account of his childhood relationship with his father in England in the 1930’s [$5.95].


When the first edition of William and Mary Morris’s Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage was published, William Cole, in a Saturday Review of Literature review, hailed it as “a terrific new book. . .that is continuously (not continually) interesting.” This lively guide to the everchanging American language is now available in a second edition and includes the comments, often caustic, of a panel of 166 distinguished writers, editors, and others concerned with the use and misuse of modern words [$22.50]. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich has published what it calls “The Vicennial Edition” of Robert K. Merton’s On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript, a work of literary detection traversing the history of ideas, science, and literature, complete with footnotes and footnotes to footnotes [$14.95]. St. Martin’s has published a second edition of Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers, edited by John M.Reilly, containing everything you wanted to know about crime and mystery writers of this century (more than 640) but were afraid to ask. The 1,094-page work is being offered at a price of $69.95 cloth. Oxford has published a revised edition of Raymond Williams’ Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, focusing on the sociology of language [$8.95 paper]. California has made available a paperback edition of The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945—1975, Creeley being an American poet whom John Ashbery has acclaimed as “about the best we have” [$12.95, also available in cloth at $28.50]. Princeton/Bollingen Paperbacks has reprinted Paul Valery’s The Art of Poetry, with an introduction by T.S. Eliot [$10.50].


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