WHO REALLY RUNS AMERICA by Robert A. Listen

WHO REALLY RUNS AMERICA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

For those seeking to know who ""they"" are and how ""they"" exercise power, Liston restates Galbraith's concept of The Process with generalized examples of how it works in business, how it fails to work in Congress and how Nixon attempted to shortcircuit its operation in the executive branch by transferring both power and Process to his own White House staff. As soon as Nixon is mentioned, one can't help but wonder how Liston will deal with the Process that culminated in Watergate, and the answer -- a typically timid, nameless, YA recapitulation that assumes no twelve year-old has seen a newspaper headline in the last year -- is a disappointment. More so because in many ways this does such a fine job of introducing the arcane mysteries of decision-making in the bureaucracy and technocracy, of explaining how special interest groups work and how and why the power of political parties has declined, and of warning against the growth of presidential power and showing how this has been happening in the less visible area of organization. The paralysis which sets in whenever a living, controversial issue like executive privilege or impoundment of funds arises is more a function of the genre than a personal failure of the author's. Nevertheless, dealing with timely issues in a manner which allows for neither contemporary urgency nor any substantial analysis and reflection, certainly determines the shelf(sitting) life of this, and many, otherwise well considered essays.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday