ENTERING NEW WORLDS: The Memoirs of a Private Man in Public Life by Max M. Kampelman

ENTERING NEW WORLDS: The Memoirs of a Private Man in Public Life

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Washington lawyer Kampelman, chief US negotiator during the Helsinki human-rights conferences and the more recent Geneva arms negotiations, offers an opinionated though informative autobiography. Kampelman writes of his struggling youth in the Depression-era Bronx, his noncombat duties as a conscientious objector during WW II, his early activism as a ""social democrat"" opposing the noisy and power-seeking US Communist Party, and his foray into liberal Democratic politics as counsel to and close friend of Hubert Humphrey. Particularly interesting is his account of his dealings with the Soviets regarding their violations of the Helsinki Accords. After confronting Soviet inflexibility during formal meetings, the author explains, he patiently invested over 400 hours at private dinner parties with Soviet officials. Regrettably, while Kampelman details his formal meetings, he reveals little about those private talks. He does, though, venture judgment on a number of issues--argues, for instance, not surprisingly, that the nuclear policies of the West have helped to keep the peace among the superpowers. On the domestic front, he criticizes the primary system of choosing presidential candidates, finding that it, unlike the old consensus method, allows fringe groups to win excessive power. He alas knocks the press--which, he says, is irresponsible, a destroyer of good reputations, and arrogantly self-righteous about First Amendment rights. In fact, Kampelman holds that journalism is not a real profession at all and points out that, unlike law, medicine, accounting, etc., it is free of government restraints and is unbound by a strict code of ethics, peer reviews, or disciplinary boards. Of most interest for Kampelman's insider's take on US-Soviet maneuverings; of least interest for his excessive, sometimes ill-advised, counselings.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: HarperCollins