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Drury in his bellicose, McCarthy-ish mode manages to be hysterical and soporific at the same time--and this sequel to The Hill of Summer is another apocalyptic snooze-arama. The new leader of the USSR, psycho Yuri Serapin, is ""Evil! Evil! Evil!""--with ""contempt for humankind"" as part of his ""heritage."" So this clever devil, after signing a Sino-Soviet peace pact, has a quick plan for destroying America and conquering the world: four simultaneous outbreaks of Moscow-backed violence (war, revolution) in four spots which the US must try to defend--Mexico, Taiwan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia. How will dear, good US Prez Ham Delbacher respond to these crises? Will he be swayed by those ""clever weakening voices,"" those dupes-or-worse in Congress and the ""insolent"" pinko press? (""Those who were not part of the conspiracy of Soviet intention were part of the conspiracy of Western fear. . . ."") No, Ham will remain cheerfully belligerent--blockading Cuba, seizing the Soviet Embassy and USSR assets (two US citizens die as a result), encouraging rebellion in the Eastern European satellites, calling for a Moscow coup to oust Serapin, telling the new leader of Iran where to get off. (""Why don't you go back to your desert and bury yourself under a pile of camel dung?"") And Ham's tough-guy approach works unlikely wonders: an alliance between the US and Castro (who survives a KGB assassination attempt); the reunification of Germany; total chaos and revolution throughout the USSR, with Serapin (who has murdered his mistress along the way) toppled; etc. As in Hill of Summer, Drury offers speeches, press conferences, news-clippings, and talky confabs instead of drama--with the same simplistic points made over and over again. So this cartoon-scenario is only for those who share the shrill, naive world-view here; and even they will probably prefer the many non-fiction sources of super-hawkish argument/rhetoric--which tend to be a little more plausible and much, much livelier.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1984
Publisher: Doubleday