APATHETIC MAJORITY by

APATHETIC MAJORITY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Statistical analysis of public response to a particular event is a difficult if absorbing endeavor. This is the second volume to appear in a projected series inaugurated in 1961 by the University of California Five-Year Study of Anti-Semitism in the United States, under a grant from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. The focal point here is the trial of Adolf Eichmann. The study is based upon 463 hour-long interviews with a representative sampling of the population of Oakland, California; when these people were questioned, the trial was nearly over, and they were in effect being asked to deliberate as an unofficial jury. All the usual shortcomings of the statistical approach persist here and the authors would be the last to project their findings beyond very strict limits. Yet they have advanced further towards their ""complementary objective,""--the better understanding of how public opinion is developed in general--than any similar undertaking to date. Their sensitivity to unknowns and intangibles is remarkable, and their assessments of such potentially significant data as they gathered on Negro responses could well become a model for future researchers. In a field where the obstacles of overstatement on one side and timidity on the other are formidable, the authors have held to a sound middle course.

Publisher: Harper & Row