THE SCOTCH by John Kenneth Galbraith


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John Kenneth Galbraith seems to be getting odder by the liberal hour. Last year he presented that pseudonymous bit of gamesmanship, The McLandress Dimension, a witty self indulgence. Now he palms off ""an exercise in social anthropology principally for my own benefit"", a nostalgic recreation of the Scotch-Canadian community around Lake Erie which he knew as a boy, written from memory ""and put down as I travel over India in an airplane"", etc. Amidst such teasers, the reader must continually remind himself that Galbraith is after all a world-renowned economist, diplomat and political pundit. Fortunately, the James Barrieish whimsy aside, the style is graceful, wry and epigrammatic, e.g., speaking of a famous ancestral trait: ""the love of money meant that a man's emotions were reliably engaged until the day he died."" However, these scrapbook essays, touching upon such unearthshaking matters as husbandry, the Toronto Globe. the social and religious idiosyncrasies of the various clans, local election mores, and the home front during WWI, amuse less and less; by the time recollections of high school days roll around and the portrait of the principal, Old Tommy, a dunderhead disciplinarian, rolls in, the reader is all but admiring the wallpaper in his room. Charm, sometimes, is simply not enough. Although the author's name, and prepublication exposure in the summer issues of Harper's will be a big help to general interest and sales.

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 1964
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin