Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Now in Paperback

September 29, 1985|ALEX RAKSIN

Deadly Gambits, Strobe Talbott (Vintage). Despite an elegant and dispassionate writing style cultivated during 14 years of reporting for Time magazine, Strobe Talbott, like President Reagan or Mikhail Gorbachev, relies in part on personal conviction to help guide him through the numbers, acronyms and accusations that superpowers trade during the arms talks. "Nuclear weapons," he writes, "exist to be talked about, not to be used. Largely for that reason, it is another central and again, paradoxical part of their nature that they exist to be controlled." Talbott's outlook sets him apart from the President, who, Talbott writes, has caused "the most serious and protracted breakdown" in arms control talks since nuclear negotiations began in 1958. Unlike Reagan or Gorbachev, Talbott has examined the issue from points of view both Eastern and Western: Talbott, currently Washington bureau chief for Time, translated and edited two volumes of Khrushchev's memoirs. Consequently, this 1984 book, updated to include talks under Gorbachev, explores the arms race with global, rather than national, interests in mind.

Between Man and Man; The Prophetic Faith, Martin Buber (Macmillan). Martin Buber's work was born, in part, out of Soren Kierkegaard's concern that individual identity is being eroded in "the present age." "First of all," wrote Kierkegaard, "come great dreams, then a feeling of laziness, and finally a witty or clever excuse for remaining in bed." But, while many readers believe that isolation is essential to Kierkegaard's vision of cultivating self, Buber stresses the importance of a meaningful exchange between one being and another. "Between Man and Man" expands on this view, positing that relations between man and God are not abstract, but inspired and direct. "The Prophetic Faith," in turn, looks at the relationship between Jews and their God, as expressed in Old Testament literature.

Spires of Form: Glimpses of Evolution, Victor B. Scheffer (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). The title is borrowed from Emerson, who wrote that the worm, "striving to be man, mounts through all the spires of form." Victor Scheffer's training as a zoologist, of course, prevents him from concluding that animals are aware of their destiny. "For every wild animal," he writes, "the momentary problems of living are met with momentary solutions." But this book is still more poetic than it is scientific. Scheffer's heart reaches out for all creatures as they struggle to survive--from tiny Himalayan spiders found atop Everest to mysterious organisms swimming nearly seven miles beneath the sea. Case studies in the book remind us of our common bonds with these creatures: Human infants, for example, have sometimes been born with flesh-and-bone tails up to two inches long. This common bond, Scheffer hopes, will help us understand that while "nature needs thousands or millions of years to create a species, man needs only a few dozen years to destroy one."

Men & Friendship, Stuart Miller (Gateway). When Stuart Miller told male colleagues that he was planning to write this book, they reacted almost unanimously, "Male friendship. You mean you're going to write about homosexuality?" No: Drawing from interviews with hundreds of men, Miller discovers a genuine problem--men's inability to sustain close relationships with other men--and some possible causes: fear of intimacy, hatred of homosexuality and competition in society.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|