David Shaw is to be commended for his penetrating pieces on the power of the press in the review of books. I'm particularly impressed with his analysis of the New York Times Book Review ("Fear, Power of N.Y. Times Book Review," Dec. 12). And, I might add, somewhat disturbed by the words fear and power in the headline. But, of course, it's true and I feel all the more indebted to Shaw for revealing the modus operandi. His is an eye-opener, especially to someone like me who grew up with the New York Times conditioned into believing that it was infallible.
At college it was required reading--i.e. the Book Review--for those of us specializing in English literature, but with the admonition that we review the reviews and challenge them, if we disagreed. Shaw's case histories reminded me of my awakening during those years and the realization that just because something appears in print doesn't make it necessarily acceptable. More power to Shaw.