THE AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT AND OTHER REPORTS, OPINIONS AND SPECULATIONS by Richard H. Rovere

THE AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT AND OTHER REPORTS, OPINIONS AND SPECULATIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In a collection of essays published over the last fifteen years, The New Yorker correspondent plucks the plumage of a number of rare old birds, making the feathers fly in the brightest flights of political fancy in some time. A master at dissection, his specimens of the '48 campaign oratory present Truman as a cornball pitchman, Dewey as a Reader's Digest savant. The ambiguities of Arthur Miller's tight-lipped House UnAmerican stand become action having a ""moral sanction and none whatever in law"". Rovere's enthusiasms include Justice Holmes, a true sage; Orwell, a ""social saint"" whose influence ranks with Freud, Joyce, Eliot; Senator Vandenburgh's famous ism switch (from isolationism to internationalism); and Ezra Pound, the ""loony ideologue"" whose soft, muddy politics spattered the ""hard, clear"" poetics. As usual with so sophisticated an analyst both the Right and the Left are taken to task: General MacArthur's addiction to the conspiracy theory of history; C. Wright Mills' cloudy conception of ""interlocking directorates"" running Washington. Finally there's the title essay, an indictment of in-group Establishments done in a marvelously tongue-in-cheek manner. It caused talk in the pages of the American Scholar; it may do even better in these new surroundings, reportage of surely the most stimulating, satisfying order.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World