cover image America: A Rediscovery

America: A Rediscovery

Lance Morrow / Author Henry Holt & Company $34.5 (238p) ISBN 9

In a desultory patriotic essay, Time magazine writer Morrow muses on George Wallace, John and Robert Kennedy, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ulysses S. Grant (""Adolf Eichmann represented `the banality of evil.' In a way, Grant represented the banality of momentary American greatness''). In this celebration of America, the author of The Chief: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons displays a knack for the able phrase, but the result is empty: the Vietnam war and the protest against it, he writes, ``had a dimension of gaudy American self-indulgence, the war and the music getting together to create a prototype of the rock video. In both the countercultural sideshow and the councils of power that made war policy, there was a note of manic narcissism, of self-importance, almost of autoeroticism.'' A picture of people on an unemployment line is incongruous and contrived amid the abundant, pretty but anonymous postcardlike photographsof San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, St. Louis's Gateway Arch, Hoover Dam, EPCOT center, Lincoln Memorial and Mount Rushmore. (October 26)