This American People

by Gerald Johnson.Harper, $2.75.
Mr. Johnson s essay is prompted by the widespread concern that the “loyalty" jitters and prevalence of fear are blinding us to the meaning and responsibilities of life in a democracy. While it is the finest form of government yet devised, democracy is also, Mr. Johnson reminds us, “a dangerous form of government — the architects of the American system were courageous men, willing to take colossal risks. Keeping one eye fixed on American history, Mr. Johnson cogently discusses the risks which Americans must take, here and now, if they are to be genuinely democratic. The essay is a bit general in tone — not as factual and specific as it might be about the concrete issues of the day. But all the same, it’s something to be grateful for.