AN END TO MAKE-BELIEVE by Edgar Ansel Mowrer
Kirkus Star


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In its closing moments, Mowrer's book fizzles desultorily into little more than a salute and a challenge to one John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Yet any reader familiar with the frequency with which political books appear on the market may justifiably suspect that this injection of the ""timelineness element"" into the book is nothing more than publisher appeasement, because the bulk of the work is well synchronized in execution needing no momentary ""topically"" to sustain it. With all his splendid journalistic craftsmanship, Mowrer speaks boldly, shockingly, of the history of the Cold War. He makes it superabundantly clear that the average American has a short memory concerning economic, military, and political developments at home and abroad. His criticisms of our generation's most sacred cows (the ""incurably legalistic"" Dulles, Madame Sun Yat-sen the ""unshakable leftist,"" research organizations -- ""The current substitute for statesmen"") are delivered without a trace of sarcasm, and he expresses a deep sense of compassion for every recent American political leader of either party, each of whom came to power, he says, under impossible conditions and in circumstances for which historical precedent could give absolutely no accounting. He drives deeply into the Cold War postures of the Roosevelt, Truman, and Elsenhower Administrations, clarifying their differences and their tragle similarities. His fast sketch of Russian history and communist development is superb, and his analysis of the prosecution of the various phases of the Cold War (from the Berlin partition through Korea, Suez, Hungary, Geneva, Camp David, Cuba, et al.) is terrifying. He is convinced that the United States and Russia are simply not engaged in the same type of fight -- a highly unusual situation. The Make-Believe of his title is a combination of fuzzy thinking in high places and a propaganda barrage issued from world officialdom, combining to keep the man in the street constantly tense and yet badly informed. If a single idea in this book is true, it would be of the utmost importance for President Kennedy and everyone else to heed a man whose words carry a tremendous amount of conviction and experience.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1961
Publisher: Duell, Sloan & Pcarce