Between 1946 and 1954, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Advise and Consent did a syndicated column called ""Westerner in Washington."" His informal, conversational style was not up to the New York Times formality and when he joined their staff, the phrase he has used for his main title was changed to ""Three Children In a Cart..."" These collected columns are grouped by the subjects Mr. Drury pursued in the final '40's and into the fearful '50's. He was offering some of the most balanced and perceptive contemporary analyses of McCarthy and his -ism and he was especially good at short political profiles of the era's leaders--Truman, MacArthur, Eisenhower. Mr. Drury wrote with a relatively subjective, but reasonable and persuasive manner. His were the sort of columns future historians use to trace the essence of a time. Strangely enough, following the '46 to '54 columns he has chosen to include a letter to the editor of the New York Times Book Review attacking their reviewer and others who had the temerity to point out that John Dos Passos' Occasions and Protests was not his most powerful book. Mr. Drury becomes perfectly dreary in accusing reviewers of being parlor pinks in a snit because Dos Passos changed his political stance. Well, you can strike us pink if you wish to be silly, but the most to be said for Three Kids... is that it is easy to take and just as easy to leave alone.