THE WALLS OF HEAVEN by Robert McLaughlin


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Wade Hendrix, a Harvard historian, disillusioned in his ambitions and in his marriage, leaves the U. S. for a tour of teaching in the Republic of Phrygia in the Middle East. In this ancient country, vestige of the Ottoman Empire, now an embattled pawn of great powers, Hendrix hopes to find some deeper meaning to his life and work and to test his theory that only small, emerging states produce the hero-leader, (or see Parkinson on the aspiring and successful institution). Before he can ever get down to the business of teaching he becomes embroiled in Phrygia's complicated racial, religious and political affairs, partly due to the fact that he is also acting as foreign correspondent for an American news magazine, and partly because he becomes involved with a number of beautiful women connected in devious ways with the regime. Like the true liberal he is, Hendrix tries on various occasions to talk reason to the representatives of the conflicting ideologies which have always opposed each other in a country which thrives on dissension. His efforts merely result in his becoming persona non grata in Phrygia after its civil war and when U.S. forces have intervened. If he leaves Phrygia with few answers he is at least a little more content with his lot. Wade Hendrix as a character is as irrelevant as his interference in the kind of politics he can't understand. But his irrelevancy is a political lesson in itself. It's no surprise that Robert McLaughlin is an editor at Time.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1961
Publisher: Simon & Schuster