AMERICAN JOURNAL: The Events of 1976 by Elizabeth Drew
Kirkus Star

AMERICAN JOURNAL: The Events of 1976

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It is a tribute to Drew that her '76 journal--which perforce is chiefly devoted to the Presidential campaigns--is absorbing enough to make one forget that much of it is yesterday's headlines, yesterday's news. By contrast with Jules Witcover's Marathon (p. 569), which laboriously dissected obsolescent battle plans and Pyrrhic victories, Drew is less handicapped by the ephemeral nature of her material. She treats all the candidates with the same cool, even-handed detachment; she doesn't take sides or pursue a pet thesis. Carter, she surmises, takes liberal positions couched in conservative rhetoric; Jerry Brown's hip ""with-ness"" is an ersatz kind of revolutionary polities. But both men recognize what she herself senses: the country stands on the edge of a great transition. In the midst of her reports on the accelerating politicking and delegate-hunting, Drew inserts telltale items, some, times from the back pages of the daily press. On the spread of nuclear weaponry; on the passing of the old order on Capitol Hill (both House Speaker Albert and Sen, Majority Leader Mansfield are retiring); on the need to revise the grueling selection process for President, lest the spoils go to the most dogged campaigner; on the economy which is weighed down by ""too many dying or stagnant industries"" and unprepared to deal with an energy-scarce world. When Drew hits an upbeat note--as she does viewing the July 4th celebrations--she is cautiously optimistic; the pessimism, more accurately skepticism, runs deeper but is never histrionic. Throughout, the larger questions of America's future loom in the background, muted but not lost in the daily hoopla of electioneering.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1977
Publisher: Random House