Nearly 140 of Buchwald's short columns from 1981, 1982, and 1983--with Reagan (who's mentioned or implicated in about half...

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WHILE REAGAN SLEPT

Nearly 140 of Buchwald's short columns from 1981, 1982, and 1983--with Reagan (who's mentioned or implicated in about half of them) not quite the terrific laugh-target he promised to be back in 1980. True, there are the obligatory (now stale) bits about Bonzo, jellybeans, and sleeping-through-crises; best of all is ""Damage Control at the White House,"" with Buchwald taking the phrase literally--as sirens ring and fire extinguishers appear in response to RR's latest gaffe. But the fact is that Reagan policies make Buchwald seriously angry--often resulting in his most polemical, flat-footed sort of sarcasm: Secretary Watt's job ""is to see we don't have too many trees cluttering up our forests""; the Moral Majority wants to burn the books (""and, if that isn't enough, then we must burn the people""); down in a Salvador-like country, ""anyone who opposes the new government's human rights' policy will be shot in the knees""; the Justice Department figures out justifications for not opposing a revival of slavery; a School Prayer amendment results in an ugly Red-baiting scene; ""you could die laughing"" about Cap Weinberger's policies. Elsewhere, however, Buchwald's lighter touch does come into play--with a survey of what Washington types fear most (""I have this nightmare that I'll be sitting at a funeral next to Vice-President George Bush and will say to him, 'What do you do?'""), with whimsical Reaganomics spinoffs and such fine double-barreled sendups as: ""Under the title '100 Neediest Families,' we are asking everyone who can possibly do it to take in one MX missile this Christmas."" And there are solid turns on OPEC, hi-tech, the EPA, AWACs, the CIA, tofu, DeLorean, doctors, repairmen who don't show up, pro-smoking lab tests (""If one of our rats gets sick, we throw it out of the program""), and, most winningly, designer chocolates. (""Oh, Master, only you could think of putting a liqueur in a plain chocolate bonbon."") Lots that's dated, little that's inspired--but a generous, issue-packed collection with nice moments. . . and a built-in audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983

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