THE GREAT SOCIETY AND ITS LEGACY, edited by Marshall Kaplan and Peggy Cuciti (Duke University: $42.50, hardcover; $17.95, paperback; 252 pp.). For critics of the Great Society, its failures are readily explained as demonstrating the classic liberal fallacy of trying to solve problems by throwing money at them. In defense, liberals claim they did not throw enough money to fairly test their proposed solutions. The truth of course is much more complicated, as this illuminating compendium of essays demonstrates. Though most of the contributors are representative of the liberal faith in big government, which fostered Lyndon Johnson's assault on poverty, the editors have achieved a measure of balance by including a few conservative voices.