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Divided We Fall

Ellis Cose, author of "The Rage of a Privileged Class", reviews (in today's New York Times Book Review section) "Divided We Fall: Gambling With History in the Nineties" by former Washington Post editor Haynes Johnson. Haven't read the book but the Cose review is pretty compelling. "During the 1980's we behaved, in Mr. Johnson's view, like a drunken sailor on a three-day pass, sowing wild oats and not caring about repercussions down the line. Now the nation faces a momentous reckoning, one that requires it to 'leap an abyss into an uncharted future.' ... 'Divided We Fall' is, in large measure, a sermon on the perils of shortsightedness."

Continuing, "The problems he enumerates are legion: a fiscal crisis that confronts government at every level and threatens to devour America's future. An educational system that fails to provide young people with a solid grounding in science -- or, in many cases, with the minimum skills they will need to succeed. Politicians who find honesty inexpedient and the hunt for campaign funds a necessary evil. The expansion of inner-city gangs and crime to once-sleepy southern towns. Workers abandoned by corporations. Political correctness gone haywire. A glorification of ethnicity that fosters disunity.

"Indeed, wherever he goes Mr. Johnson finds signs of Americans divided by ethnicity and race." Cose says the book ends on a cheery note, perhaps too cheery, or at best, wishful thinking. In any event, I'd add it to the list.

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Meanderings 1.02 -- March 27, 1994