cover image The Man in the Water: And Other Essays

The Man in the Water: And Other Essays

Roger Rosenblatt. Random House (NY), $25 (424pp) ISBN 978-0-679-42693-6

Rosenblatt, a contributing editor to the New Republic and Vanity Fair and a regular essayist for the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour , skillfully draws out his interviewees, whether the person is a homeless woman in New York City who was once a nightclub dancer, a prisoner in Attica smoldering with anger, or a fiercely anti-communist Latvian jazz saxophonist in Leningrad. This wholly engaging collection of essays, articles, reviews and autobiographical sketches includes an extended meditation on Hiroshima, a piece on the ``disappeared'' victims of Argentina's military dictatorship and the eloquent title essay about a 1982 plane crash into the Potomac, in which an anonymous man rescued fellow passengers before he succumbed to the icy waters. There are disarming profiles of Ronald Reagan, Candice Bergen, New York governor Mario Cuomo; appreciations of African American autobiographies and Langston Hughes's ``Simple'' stories; and an alarming report on war-torn Sudan where some 100,000 boys, whose parents had been slaughtered, walked barefoot for hundreds of miles in search of safety. (Feb.)