THE ENDLESS CRISIS: A Confrontation on America in the Seventies by Francois--Ed. Duchene

THE ENDLESS CRISIS: A Confrontation on America in the Seventies

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Some ninety-odd social scientists (largely of prominent liberal stripe, with a peppering of reasonable ""radicals"") convened at Princeton in December 1968 under the auspices of the International Association for Cultural Freedom (no longer CIA-funded) to discuss ""The United States, Its Problems, Its Impact and Its Image in the World."" On the predictable lineup of topics--the liberal crisis, Black Power, the New Left, post-industrial society, global power and restraints, intellectuals' responsibilities--well-turned phrases and cogent analyses were exchanged among the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith, Daniel Bell, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., George Kennan, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Lillian Hellman, Henry Kissinger, Robert J. Lifton, Stanley Hoffman, Norman Podhoretz, John J. McCloy, George W. Ball, etc., and various foreign notables. According to editor Francois Duchene it was the real stuff of confrontation: ""The classic calm of Princeton's Whig Hall and the decencies of debate there were troubled by decidedly non-Whig visions of violence: black violence, student violence, police violence, bureaucratic violence done to the individual and the reciprocal intellectual violence of young and old."" But often the speakers seem to be declaiming set pieces rather than conversing; each makes his desired points, and the issues are not clearly joined or resolved. Sam Brown, prime ""radical"" spokesman, plays his role with requisite fervor but proper politeness as he questions the composition and style of the conference, and even black militant Roy Innis is a most amiable participant. Not an exciting or particularly creative encounter, but can be useful reading as a measured, nicely articulated seminar on current concerns and crises.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1970
Publisher: Simon & Schuster