cover image Lighten Up, George

Lighten Up, George

Art Buchwald. Putnam Publishing Group, $19.95 (345pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13667-2

Columnist Buchwald's ( I Never Danced at the White House ) 29th book is another delightful collection of his newspaper pieces. The monumental changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union provide him with special opportunities to sparkle: he ``covers'' a gloomy meeting of ex-spies from both East and West in a Berlin cafe, all of them now jobless; he ``reports'' on a meeting of the Moscow Committee on Un-Soviet Affairs, trying to expose some of the 50 million former Communists in Russia; he foresees the time when U.S. political campaign planners will be called on to teach the Russians how to deploy dirty tricks. Other fine targets include simulated news stories on TV, college kids home for the summer, and the anti-smoking lobby. And there is a venture (rare for Buchwald) into gallows humor in the story of a People magazine photographer who covered Marie Antoinette for four years, ending with a photo of her execution--which is, of course, a head shot. (Nov.)