Pentagon

Allen Drury, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (592p) ISBN 978-0-385-15141-2
The idea behind Drury's 16th novel is promising: follow the actions taken by the American military bureaucracy when faced with a crisis. In this case, the crisis is the Russian occupation of a sparsely inhabited South Pacific island for the purpose of building a submarine and missile base. However, the book's merit ends with that concept. It is difficult to believe that the writer of Advise and Consent, the Pulitzer Prizewinning bestseller, could be responsible for this bloated, wooden novel that lacks the simplest of narrative virtues. Within the first few pages, Drury introduces an overwhelming array of people, including the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Senators and Congressmen, reporters, bureaucrats and a shadowy President, none of whom becomes an interesting, believable character. As the Pentagon's mishandling of this crisis reaches near-buffoonery, Drury's attempted critique of a bureaucracy burdened with political infighting, waste and mismanagement unintentionally becomes almost comic for those readers with the endurance to get that far. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured selections. (October 17)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
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