Book Hints


The bicentennial of the constitutional convention occasioned an outpouring in 1987 of publications on the Founders. The outpouring has not yet ceased.

Two books, Patriots (New York: Simon & Schuster, 603 pp., $22.95), by A.J. Langguth, and Turning 200 (New York: Richardson & Steirman, 395 pp., $21.95), by Jane Nevins, flesh out the lives of the rebels and thinkers who shaped the political institutions that have endured these 200 years. Both accounts conjure up lively images of men who are too often rendered uni-dimensional heroes in patriotic textbook histories.

In Constitutional Journal: A Correspondent's Report from the Convention of 1787, (Ottawa, Ill.: Jameson Books, 294 pp., $17.95), Jeffrey St. John offers a delightful account of the convention. A print and broadcast journalist, he takes the reader onto the convention floor by retelling events in the style of "eyewitness" reports.

John Phillip Reid adds to these entertaining accounts a more scholarly study of the ideas underpinning our revolution in The Concept of Liberty in the Age of the American Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 224 pp., $25.95).

Ideas about liberty and tyranny gain powerful expression in fictional format in Brad Linaweaver's Moon of Ice (New York: Arbor House, 248 pp., $17.95). The time is now, the world is our own, but America's history (and the world's) took a different turn in 1942 when Hitler won the war. The United States, a libertarian state, is a bulwark for individual freedom, but the manipulative German Reich threatens mankind.

Eminent Brazilian writer Jorge Amado's latest novel, Showdown (New York: Bantam, 448 pp., $18.95), explores life in the tropical frontier of Brazil's cacao region. Like his other works, this is a brilliant examination of Latin America's political and cultural realities.