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Reprint, Spring 1982

ISSUE:  Spring 1982

Just as this country has no scarcity of problems, so it has no scarcity of writers warning of more to come and others offering solutions to those present and soon-tobe. Two recent Touchstone Books are paperback cases in point. The first—a look-tothe-future—is Richard J. Barnet’s The Lean Years: Politics in the Age of Scarcity [$7.25], a book about the struggle for diminishing natural resources and how the problems generated by this struggle will reduce the quality of American life “until reorganization, conservation, and technology can provide renewable substitutes for the limited and disputed resources we Americans so long took for granted.” The second—offering “practical suggestions for restoring a productive America”—is Ronald E. Müller’s Revitalizing America: Politics for Prosperity [$7.25], which the Washington Post described as “a timely compilation of ideas currently in the air but not yet in the mainstream.” The American West and the women who made it are the subjects of new Bison Books from Nebraska. One is Dee Brown’s The Gentle Tamers: Women of the Old Wild West [$6.50 paper], an “informal but soundly factual account” of the varied and valiant women who took part in the great migrations westward, mostly in the period of 1850—1880. The other is Frances M. A, Roe’s Army Letters from an Officer’s Wife, 1871—1888 [$22.50 cloth, $6.95 paper], a collection of the letters written by an Army wife whose husband was stationed in the shadow of the Rockies, where the deer and the Cheyenne roamed, where sometimes was heard a querulous word and the skies could be cloudy all day. A third Bison Book, one also dealing with the West, in this case a particular part of it, is novelist Wallace Stegner’s nonfiction account of the settlement and development of Mormon Country [$21.50 cloth, $6.95 paper]. Brandeis and New England have jointly issued a revised paperback edition of The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison [$12.50]. Edited with an introduction and commentary by Marvin Meyers, the volume offers a collection of Madison’s most important writings and papers for the use of students, scholars, and general readers. Vintage Books has published a second, completely revised edition of Evan Jones’ American Food: The Gastronomic Story [$20.50 cloth, $9.95 paper], a collection of “more than 700 distinctive regional, traditional, and contemporary recipes,” ranging from Abalone Steak to Zucchini with Black Walnuts, a book which noted food critic James Beard hailed as “a true joy.” Illinois has brought out a second, paperback edition of Bernard Harsh’s Diary of a Strike [$5.95], an account of a violent, four-month-long strike at the Marinette Knitting Mills in Marinette, Wisconsin, which a Nation reviewer called “a most fascinating story . . .highly recommended.” Georgia is offering a new edition of Burnette Vanstory’s Georgia’s Land of the Golden Isles [$15.00 cloth, $8.95 paper] a narrative of the barrier islands off Georgia’s coast, islands “as rich in history as they are in natural beauty.”


Long firmly lodged in the library of American classics, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick has gone through generations of editions. But few could equal and none could surpass the edition published by the Arion Press in 1979. Created by Andrew Hoyem, the edition was limited to 265 copies—and for good reason: each copy cost $1,000. Now, thanks to a joint enterprise involving Hoyem and the University of California Press, what some consider “the most majestic presentation of America’s most monumental novel” is available on a reduced scale—but in handsome dimensions—to the general reader at a reasonable price [$24.95 cloth]. California has also published new paperback editions of two of the great epics of India, each retold by William Buck. They are, respectively, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana [$7.95 each], which together, in the words of Choice magazine, “make up the framework of the Hindu religious, cultural, and social imagination.” Princeton has reissued a two-volume paperback edition of Aleksandr Pushkin’s Russian classic, Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse [$19.50 the set], translated from the Russian, with a commentary by another great Russian writer, Vladimir Nabokov, about which the London Observer commented: “A better commentary on a poem has never been written, and probably not a better translation of one.” A work considered a minor classic of World War I is A. P. Herbert’s novel, The Secret Battle [$9.95 cloth], a new edition of which has been published by Atheneum, with an introduction by no less a warrior and writer than Winston S. Churchill. Perennial Library includes among its recent paperbacks novels by two popular British women authors, Rumer Godden and Barbara Pym, respectively. Godden additions to the Perennial Library are these: The Battle of the Villa Fiorita, An Episode of Sparrows, and The Greengage Summer [$2.95 each]. The Pym Perennials are A Glass of Blessings and A Few Green Leaves [$3.25 each]. Touchstone Books has a new paperback edition of Doris Lessing’s African Stories [$9.95], a work Newsweek felt possessed such a “touch and taste” of the Dark Continent that “Africa seems to become the universe.” Harper Colophon Books is out with a new paperback edition of New Yorker humorist James Thurber’s Lanterns and Lances [$5.25], containing “a variety of encounters with women, men, and other children as well as some less confusing creatures.”


Princeton has a new Gateway Editions paperback of British poet C. H. Sisson’s translation of Dante’s moving and superb Divine Comedy [$8.95], a translation deemed “one of the finest to have appeared” by The Literary Review of Edinburgh. Recent California paperbacks include two works with a common subject— the poetry of Ezra Pound. One is Michael Alexander’s The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound [$6.95], a basic introduction to Pound’s poetry; and the other is Hugh Witemeyer’s The Poetry of Ezra Pound: Forms and Renewal, 1908—1920 [also $6.95], a study of Pound’s work acclaimed as “splendid” by the Sewanee Review.


Cornell has a new edition of The Past before Us: Contemporary Historical Writing in the United States [$19.95 cloth, $9.95 paper], a volume of essays by 21 distinguished historians assessing the current state of the historical profession in the U. S., which was edited for the American Historial Association by Michael Kammen, Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture at Cornell. Cambridge is offering these new paperbacks: John Brewer’s Party Ideology and Popular Politics at the Accession of George III [$19.95], a reappraisal of English politics in the first decade of George Ill’s reign; Eric J. Leed’s No Man’s Land: Combat and Identity in World War I [$9.95], an examination of how the first modern, industrialized war transformed the character of the men who fought in it; Peter Clarke’s Liberals and Social Democrats [$14.95], a study of the relationship between liberalism and socialism in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and James R. Moore’s The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America, 1870—1900 [$19.95], whose arguments, in the view of Victorian Studies, are “bold and exciting, its insights stimulating and provocative.”


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