EAST AND WEST by C. Northcote Parkinson


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Satirist C.N. Parkinson has turned sober, bidding farewell to the bureaucratic tomfoolery for which he is famous. Now he savors the past, present and future of East/West rivalries, and their incestuous interrelations. For him, Asia and Europe are opposite sides of the same mass, just as they are- so to speak, opposite sides of one coin; heads it's the East, tails it's the West. Parkinson of course uses no such mart-like metaphor; without a murmur of acknowledgement to Vico's cycles, Toynbee's challenge and response, Adams' thermodynamics, he sputters, sparks and splurges through culture conflicts, rising and falling civilizations, class consciousness as a generating force, etc. However the one world assimilation is not in the scheme of things unless nature learns not to abhor a vacuum; growth insures decay, resentment breeds resistance, revolutionaries become administrators, and vice versa. Still it is not all gloom and grim ineluctability. If we ask the right questions, we can maybe prescribe the right geopolitical preventive medicine to achieve peaceful co-existence. That's the message. The burden of the book offers here and there valuable visitations to the Greeks and Romans, Chinese and Indians, English and Americans. It notes the interchange of techniques and temperaments, the differing commercial and religious notes, Occidental Individualism, Oriental universalism. It is mellifluously scholarly- like gliding on a stream- and Parkinson makes intricate ideas almost effortlessly easy. But ater one realizes that there are vast oceans of other explanations and/or explorations.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1963
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin