The inimitable Modesty Blaise, reformed criminal turned crimefighter (see "Modesty Blaise: From Underworld Youth to Super Sleuth," Dec. 1985), again displays her resourcefulness in Peter O'Donnell's latest thriller, The Night of Morningstar (New York: Mysterious Press, 288 pp., $15.95). Another thriller, State Scarlet, by David Aaron (New York: Putnam's, 351 pp., $18.95) steeps the reader in the cloak and dagger world of CIA, KGB, terrorists, and A-bomb theft. Better still is the glimpse inside the machinery of government—Soviet and American. Aaron, who was a senior staff member of the National Security Council, knows what he's talking about. This is a superior lesson in the politics of bureaucracy—and entertaining, too.
Chernobyl: A Russian Journalist's Eyewitness Account, by Andrey Illesh (New York: Richardson & Steinman, 200 pp., $18.95), offers a no doubt unintended window on Soviet journalism. This is no in-depth investigation of the accident. Instead, it's one long saga of heroism and the glory of the state. We see not a single photo of Chernobyl in flames but are treated to two dozen near-identical photos of gallant proletarians constructing a concrete container around the defunct nuclear plant.
Providing a sampling of work from two great Nobel laureate economists, the Hoover Institution has published The Essence of Stigler, edited by Kurt Leube and Thomas Gale Moore (Stanford, Calif.: 377 pp., $35.95) and The Essence of Friedman, edited by Kurt Leube (566 pp., $44.95/$24.95). Another Nobel laureate, James Buchanan, has coedited Deficits with Charles Rowley and Robert Tollison (New York: Basil Blackwell, 416 pp., $24.95). This is a first-rate collection of essays that provides a survey of deficit spending and its intellectual roots, institutional constraints on reducing deficits, and the budgetary process. Also shedding light on deficit spending is Hans Sennholz's Debts and Deficits (Spring Mills, Penna.: Libertarian Press, 174 pp., $24.95).
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Book Hints".