Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 10, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
A collection of short book reviews "Creative Canada: A biographical dictionary of twentieth - century creative and performing artists." Volume Two. Compiled by Reference Division McPherson Library, University of Victoria, B.C. (University of Toronto Press, 506 pages, $15). The first two volumes contain about 500 entries each of Canadians who have made 6ome sort of name for themselves as an author, artist, musician or performing artist. Anyone who thinks Canada is lacking in creative people ought to leaf through at least one volume of this series (there are more to come) and have that impression corrected. It is important to note in the preface that the cut-off date for the date was December 31, 1968 lest the more recent accomplishments of the biographies or newer arrivals to fame seem to be slighted. This dictionary is obviously an indispensible addition to any reference library. D. W. "Dictionary of American Philosophy" by St. Elmo Nau-man, Jr. (Philosophical Library, 270 pages, $10). This book Is a handy reference for students of American philosophy. About 150 major and minor American philosophers, their lives and works, are described briefly. I find the alphabetical arrangement of entries, coupled with a chronological cross-reference, very useful. Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Sanders Peircc. William James, Borden Parker Bowne, Josiah Royce, John Dewey, Alfred North Whitehead, George Santayana, Ber- trand Russell, Albert Einstein, Paul tillich, Rudolph Carnap, Herbert Marcuse and Eric Hof-fer are some of the entries which students of philosophy will undoubtedly want to read. J. M. "Learning About Nature Through Pets" by Virginia W. Musselman (George J. Mc-Lead, Limited, $4.95. 127 pages). A handy pet and page guide has been set up in this book for readers who wish to refer quickly as to choosing identify* ing, handling, feeding, housing, observing, breeding and first aid for pets. The other chapters include a general consensus on pet-keeping, leaving out many details. This book would be suitable for children from the age of 10 on, including teen-agers, if the print were larger. H. K. "How to Believe Again" by Helmut Thieiicke (Fortress Press, 220 pages, softback. $3.95, distributed by G. R. Welch Company, Limited). Remembering the freshness of many of Thielicke's previous books - especially How the World Began and The Waiting Father - I expected far more from this latest one than I found. It is a collection of 1?> sermons of real substance but they lack the sparkling sentences and surprising insights that made his other books so popular a few years ago. Helmut Thieiicke is professor of systematic theology at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He regularly preaches to large congregations in St. Michael's Church in Hamburg. The sermons in tills book were a series in which modem agnostics were particularly in mind. D. W, ' "Anna" by E. M. Almedin-gen (Oxford University Press, 124 pages). A picture of life in Russia at the end of the 18th century is portrayed in this book. Based on the life of the author's great grandmother the story tells of the life of a young girl up to .the time of her marriage at age sixteen. Born to the merchant class, Anna is left motherless at an early age and is raised �by her wealthy and highly intelligent father who sees that she is well educated by tutors at the time when the education of a girl was looked upon askance. Although this book cannot be classified as great literature it has merit in that it gives a clear description of the life and customs of the time and is very easy to read, E. M. "You're Standing On My Foot" by Howard Paris. (G. R. Welch Co. Ltd. $1.50). A funny cartoon book depict-ing religious hypocrites in action. Read it and spot yourself - I'll guarantee we're all in there somewhere. G. A. "Please, Say Please" by Elizabeth Post (Little, Brown and Company (Canada) Limited, 300 pages, $9.50). This book attempts to provide a comprehensive guide to raising well mannered children. Parents will be sorry to know that their etiquette is slipping if their little girls don't curtsy and their sons fail to bow when meeting visitors. However, don't bother to send junior to school in an Eton suit with short pants; not only will he get frozen knees but he'll feel "different." There is nothing particularly new in Mrs. Post's suggestions but the beginning parent might pick up some useful hints provided she takes everything with the socially correct grain of salt. . T. M. "Ambassadors for Christ" by Edward Wagenknecbt (Oxford University Press, $8.75, 310 pages). Once upon a time preachers were as popular as sports and movie stars are today. Around the turn of the century almost everyone knew the names of the seven American preachers dealt with in this book: Lyman Beecher, Henry Ward Beech-er, William Ellery Charting, Phillips Brooks, D. L. Moody, Washington Gladden, Lyman Abbott. Today, not only are these names unknown but most people would find it difficult to identify a handful of contemporary pulpit luminaries. It is astonishing that a book about preachers of the past could get printed; the interest must be minimal. Those who do venture into the book will find it only fairly interesting because the emphasis is more on what the men preached about than the men themselves. D. W. "Bedita's Bad Day" by Eros Keith (Bradbury Press, distributed by Oxford University Press, 2G pages, $5.75). If you have five or six dollars to spend on just one book for a special child, don't buy this one! Children will probably see better than a mere adult does, the humor in a witch waking up in a cranky mood and finding her breakfast porridge too cold, but there are many batter stories written for children. The illustrations of the members of the witch community skating, skiing and tobogganing are rather fun and are also done by the author. It might be a good book to have on the shelves of the children's department of the public library. E. W. "The Alaskan Camp Cook" (Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, 88 pages, $2.25). This paperbacked, ringed cookbook is something.to make even the novice hunter drool with expectation. It takes the gourmet from duck and goose dishes to big game such as moose, caribou and venison, mountain sheep, goat and bear. Rabbit or hare and beaver and muskrat dishes continue the selection which leads to fish, shellfish, wild fruit, wild vegetables and sourdough recipes. The names of the various dishes would tempt almost everyone. They include moose stroganoff, upside down moose-burger pie, - Sieg's barbecue sauce, pan-fried rabbit, chicken-fried muskrat, ducks Philippine and black coot ducks. It even explains how to prepare the wild meats before cooldng. It is available from the publisher, Box 4-EEE, Anchorage, Alaska. R. S. "London In 48 Hours" (Lutterworth Press, $1.25, 32 pages.) London in 48 Hours is just what it says - an hour-by-hour guide to tha city of London, England. Complete with glossy photos and street maps, the booklet serves as a guide while visiting in London and becomes a souvenir upon returning. J. W. "Power and Policy - America's Role in World Affairs" by Claiborne Pell (George J. McLeod Ltd., $8.75, 170 pages). A member of a distinguished family of diplomats, Senator Pell of Rhode Island analyzes in this book the foreign policy of the United States and gives his ideas of what should be done in the years ahead. Taking his text from Lord Palmerston - "We have no eternal allies, we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual and those interests it is our duty to follow" - he reviews the mistakes the United States has made in foreign policy, including the one in Vietnam. He draws lessons from history, comparing the U.S. bombing of Hanoi with Nazi Germany's blitz in the Battle of Britain, only to reinforce the enemy's will and determination. He also says that the policy-making process, now weighing heavily in the White House's favor, is violating the spirit of the Constitution. J. M. The Voice Of One -By. DR. FRANK S. MORLEY Logging, heaver-style Photo by R. B. Walter Kerber "Respond" volume 2: A Resource Book for Youth Ministry edited by Janice M. Cor-bett (Judson Press, distributed by G. R. Welch Company, Limited, 143 pages, $3i95). This attractive book (soft cover) is prepared for use of adults working with teenagers and youth in church-centred groups but there are program ideas which could be adapted for secular groups coming to grips with a sense of responsibility, as well. Themes and resources include ecology, politics, Eastern religions, sexuality, the Bible, racism, poverty. There is also a small section of program ideas especially for junior high aged people and a list of books, films and other multimedia materials which can be used with young people. Some of these are American-oriented but similar resources may be available in Canada. The material has been collected by a key program associate in the department of ministry and youth of the American Baptist board of education and publication. Used by creative and innovative leaders, this book could be a very useful one. E. W. "Up Against New York" by John Berenyi (William, Morrow and Company Inc., S3.75, 290 pages distributed by George J. McLeod Ltd.). The author, who has, directed policy-level studies and research projects on various city problems in New York, as well as being an environmental urban strategist, has gathered together facts, figures and opinions through 13 well qualified contributors. Some items covered are red tape, landlords, laymen's law, the dating game, politics. Many more are included, which would be necessary for anyone exploring the sidewalks of New York, A handy chapter, "A survial kit for New York", contains bus routes, doctor and dental emergency, family planning services, housing, parking and moving violations, peace and resistance centres, psychiatric services, restaurants of every description, theatres (off-Broadway and experimental), beach information guide, etc. . All this information will help anyone catch and cope with the many moods of New York City, and is ideal for anyone planning on residing or just visiting. H.K. "James Bay" by Boyce Richardson. (Clarke, Irwin and Co. Ltd., 190 pages, S2.75). Author Richardson rips Quebec premier Robert Bourassa for his apparent hair - brain scheme to develop the vast James Bay watershed, with little or no regard for human or animal life. Richardson even gives Dief's "vision of the north" a dig in this book that attempts to show the folly of this development, as a social catastrophe and as an ecological bomb. Unfortunately Rich ardson only gives one side of this complex and multl - sided issue. North America needs electrical power, both now and in the future. She needs vast reserves of fresh water, even now one of the world's scarcest comimodi-ties. The need for electricity is underlined by the fact that many of the states in the U.S. are already running short, at the cost of industry and in some cases even the homes are suffering. But North America also needs preservation of her ecology. A happy medium has to be struck. A choice may have to be made - man or nature? G. A, "Photography Year Book 1973" edited by John Sanders (Fountain Press, 11 V*" x 9", S13.95, distributed by Clarke, Irwin and Company Limited). The basis on which this selection of 230 plates was made was not clear to me from the reading of the editor's foreword but an examination of the pictures indicates that no narrow interest in subject matter prevailed. Most of the photographers are European - there are only seven U.S. and one Canadian - which is probably due to the fact that it is a British publication for which few submissions may have been made from this side of the Atlantic. Each picture is numbered and at the back, along with advertisements, data about the photographer and his picture can be consulted. D. W. "The Sex Game" by Jessie-Bernard. (A t h e neiim, 370 pages, $3.95). Don't be misled by> the title of this book. It is a serious sociological analysis of communication between the sexes. Playboy magazine's readership declines among men over 35 who are mature enough to seek meaningful relations with women instead of having fantasies, the author points out. Words - sweet nothings - play an important part in the seduction of women. Deception, if it is meant for good, should be allowed in marriage. Most men misinterpret signs from women. On the other hand, mamy times women are not aware of. the signs they are sending. Originally, the female's message was simple and straightforward: I am ready. Civilization makes it a whole new game. J. M. "The Santa Claus Bank Robbery" by A. C. Greene, (Random House of Canada Ltd., $8.25, 267 pages). The 1920s spewed out many dangerous men and this is the story of four of them and their ill-fated attempt to rob a smalltown Texas bank just before Christinas, 1927. It is a well-researched book, that can be read in a single evening. Greene has done a good job of weaving the mood of the time into the facts of the robbery to make this a very readable book. He covers the entire robbery, f r. o m the planning stages through its botched execution to be fateful end of its perpetrators. One died in the robbery, another in the e 1 e c t r i c chair, a third was hung by a lynch mob and the fourth was sentenced to 99 years in prison. The irony is that if one of the robbers had not chosen to wear the Santa Claus suit as a disguise, it's likely the robbery would have been successful but he didn't take into account that his outfit would draw groups of youngsters to the bank and throw the entire operation into confusion, and death. R. C. Inglorious conclusion I shall never forget the day when President Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam. People today talk as if Johnson began the war. He did nothing of the kind. Eisenhower began the war. He gave $24 million to aid the dispossessed northern landowners who fled as refugees to the south. Then the marines had to follow the dollars. Vice-President Nixon by a slip of the tongue in a speech disclosed the secret loan and Eisenhower never forgave him. President Kennedy escalated the war and Johnson plunged the U.S. in to its neck, confident that the might of America could easily overwhelm this wretched' little country. Thus he would extricate the U.S. from a w a r into which his predecessors had plunged him. I was working for The Lethbridge Herald at the time and Cleo Mowers and I agreed that the Johnson escalation was criminal lunacy.. Cleo wrote a front page editorial and I wrote some on the editorial page. What a hullabaloo there was! Indignant letters and 'phone calls came from outraged people who maintained we were enemies of the U.S. Our contention was that if one were an enemy of the U.S. this was exactly what we would like to see happen. No friend of the U.S. could wish such a fearful fate upon them. We predicted that the adventure, so lightly and jauntily entered upon, would end in fearful disaster. The U.S. would suffer appalling losses in life and resources, damage its currency, blacken its good name, and bring anarchy into its domestic life, and for what? Nothing. No good thing could come out of the war. So it turned out. Between 1961 and 1972, 45.928 Americans were killed and over 300, 000 wounded. South Vietnam lost 180.676 killed and the Viet Cong and North Viet- namese had 921,350 dead. Men, women, and children civilian casualties in South Vietnam alone were 415,000 killed and 935, 000 wounded between 1965 and 1973. The cost to the U.S. taxpayer was $137 billion. But statistics are only a fraction of the ghastliness of the war. They do not tell of the tens of thousands of drug addicts or the immorality and hideous cruelty that calloused the American conscience. The morale of the U.S. is lower today than at any time in history. Its moral leadership of the world, so high after the last war, has slipped to zero. It would be difficult to convince the world that American foreign policy had any compassion, mercy, decency, or truth. In the Vietnam war no lie was too false, no act too diabolical. This is a sad day i'or the Communist world. The Soviet leaders must be weeping to see the U.S. finally ending the Viet-, nam invasion. If the U.S. had continued the conflict she would have utterly destroyed herself. Aren't all great civilizations destroyed from within? The Communists are to be congratulated on keeping the U.S. in Vietnam so long a time. Nor need they give up hope; the war is far from over. President Thieu has strong forces against him and he keeps nearly 300,000 political prisoners in jail, while the North Vietnamese have no intention to remain idle. The Provisional Revolutionary government will be strongly supported by the North and by other governments. The future will be dangerous and bloody. But Nixon is going to be prepared. Ruthlessly he slashes the social welfare program and at the same time he increases the military and munitions spending by $4.2 billion! This despite the end of the Vietnam adventure. What ghastly tragedy has he in mind now? Fire thyself WASHINGTON - President Nixon has vowed to cut the bureaucracy in Washington. This is a noble endeavor which every other president in the history of this nation attempted - and failed. Now comes a plan devised by a friend, John Rogers of Alexandria, Va. It is worth serious consideration and I don't think president Nixon's super-cabinet should reject it out of hand. The Rogers plan is to make bureaucracy reduction an incentive for government employees rather than a punishment. Anyone who can figure out how to do away with his own job gets to retire at full pay for the rest of his life. An administrator who can figure out a way to abolish his entire agency would not only receive his own salary for the rest of his life but would get a bonus of 10 per cent of the agency's budget for the next five years. "I don't understand where the financial saving would be," I said to Rogers in a bar where he laid out the idea. "Salaries are only a small part of the cost of a bureaucracy," he said. "The big savings would come from shutting down offices, parking lots, electricity, heat and saving money on .file cabinets, typewriters, Xerox machines and paper clips. Eliminate the job, pay the man his full salary and you'll still save 90 per cent of the cost of running the government." "It sounds good on paper, Rogers, but a lot of bureaucrats like their work. If you retire them at full salary, they'll go nuts." "They will not be prohibited from working in the private sector. Private enterprise needs as many bureaucrats as the government. "They could work for AT&T, American Express, Seal's & Roebuck or the insurance company of their choice." "That's true," I agreed. "As long as they can shuffle paper I guess they don't care whom they shuffle it for." "The important thing," Rogers said, "is that we make it a challenge for bureau- crats to do away with their own jobs. They have to come up with good, solid reasons why they're expendable. We would set up a review board to go over each case. If a man can't justify a reason for firing himself, he will be sent back to his department." "In spite of what people think, bureaucrats like a challenge, and what could be more challenging than coming up with a reason why your job isn't necessary to the running of the government." "But there are some bureaucrats who might never think of a good reason." "That's why we offer bonuses to their administrators. If the administrator can conceive of a reason why his department should be abolished, then the bureaucrat will be automatically fired though he, too, will receive his full pay." "That makes sense; it could be a team effort." "Exactly," Rogers continued. "Agencies would be competing with each other to see how fast they could close themselves down. In six months, 80 per cent of all government employees will be on retirement at no financial loss to themselves." "But cam we run the government with only 20 per cent of the labor force?" "No West," said Rogers. "Essential services can be maintained by a skeleton task force of government employees who couldn't come up with any good reasons why their jobs should be eliminated. If they're too dumb not to figure out how to take advantage of the reduction incentive plan, then they can keep working until they do." "It's an idea whose time has come," I said. "All we need is to get the president to fund a new agency to get the plan under way," Rogers said. "But that means hiring more bureaucrats," I protested. "That's the government's problem - not mine.' Standing ovations By John Searchfield, in The Albertan There was a time, it seems, when a standing ovation was considered to be a very special kind of tribute. It occurred rarely, and was awarded only to a performer of exceptional distinction. Nowadays, particularly in Calgary, it has become significantly debased in value. Audiences rise to their feet on the strangest occasions, and often, in my opinion, .without significant reason. Personally, I regret this development. Of course, everyone's reaction to a program is a very personal matter. Some people will respond with enthusiasm to an event that others will regard as depressingly mediocre. These people will perhaps leap from their seats and, such is the way of crowds, others will rise too, even if they are not entirely convinced that they should. If ,one chooses to desist, one runs the risk of receiving angry or bewildered stares. Yet there are occasions when a performance is so superb that a standing ovation is the only possible reaction, and I doubt whether anyone in the audience would have the slightest hesitation in joining in. For example, I remember when' Rostropo-vich gave a recital in Banff. The atmosphere was electric, and we all knew that something extra special was taking place. Now, if we stand up for something considerably less good, what do we have in reserve for the exceptional performance? We could cheer, I suppose. Yet I am sure that many people would feel inhibited, and disinclined to do so. Surely straightforward applause is a sufficient recognition of most concerts. This applause may range from enthusiastic to lukewarm, and we are able to express the degree of our enjoyment within these limits. For the sake of both listener and performer, it would be good to know that special tribute was held in reserve for the great, the outstanding concert. Perhaps it is already too late to brighten the tarnished image of the standing ovation. But it is hard to imagine with what to replace it.