The Naked Gambit

The editors of Gambit, Incorporated are not in business to make money. NOR are they in business for the fun of it; they are in business, whatever that is, because they prefer to read what they want when they want to read it; books, bookstore books, the ones the clerk tells you are out-of-print the day bet ore they are published (and why shouldn’t he: the title was probably used for some other book last year and the new publisher will fail to deliver the current offering before next) yes, simple, hardback, original publications, the ones that cost so much (and about 80% of the time make so little) — and by the way, what saves the book business from success and you from having your books selected for you is the fact that you cannot put $6.95 in a slot machine — (any minute now there will be a slot machine that will take an imprint of your credit card and give you the Book, the Bikini, or the Bunny of-the-Year; and at the same time, charge your bank account, run a credit check, and blackball you from the Luncher’s Club, so here is a Gambit credit card which will entitle you to these privileges: but not to mislay our subject books, notwithstanding nude strangers, love machine vendors, and other complaints, books are about the only place where you can make an unmanipulated choice; you can actually start a day wondering what you want in a book; you don’t have to begin by getting out of bed and wondering how to want what other people think you want, such as a car that is too long or a news article that is too short; it will be a long struggle for both of us if you really get what you want, but wouldn’t it be nice to pull the chair up to the lamp and read words that no one else at all is reading or hearing or seeing at that particular moment and perhaps forestall for a season the collapse of civilization in one universal continuous demonstration for the right to demonstrate and that, which is where this introductory sentence began, is why the editors of Gambit are in whatever it is they are in.
They arc here in short to oiler you an unusual selection of books which lay bare a number of essential organs of the body politic and a funnybone or two. Here are the books:
Coat Of Many Colors: Israel, by George Mikes. Mr. Mikes was invited to return to Israel twenty years after Milk And Honey, his first report on that new country in 1949. The Publisher’s Weekly in its “Forecast,”intended for the booksellers, describes the new book as follows: “For sheer readability this new book is tops ... his insights are often remarkably keen as he writes with zest and humor of the many changes in Israel since the Six-Day War. On the serious side he remarks at length on problems facing Israeli Jew’s on what he calls the Seventh Day. Mikes, however, chiefly draws his running portrait by means of a delightful bag of anecdotes, vignettes, jokes and side-glimpses of Israel’s Jews (not all Zionists) and Arabs alike. His book is bright with irony and affection.”
Anatomy Of Error, by Henry Brandon. “The Washington correspondent of the London Sunday Times, Henry Brandon, is a quiet man about town who seems always to be listening. In recent years this has meant hearing a lot of nonsense about Vietnam, which in this book he tries to ignore to see w’hat truth, if any, remains . . .
“It begins with the small and then deepening involvement and then goes on to the disastrous decision to carry the air war to the North; ... to the muffed, rebuffed and missed opportunities for negotiation . . . and to the increasingly frozen positions of those whose pride, tears, careers or imagination had imprisoned them.
“The story Brandon tells is lucid and persuasive and there are numerous dividends from his patient attention . . . there’s a lot of good in w’hat he’s done.” John Kenneth Galbraith in Book World
Hamlet’s Mill, by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dcchend is an extraordinary work which by unravelling the myths of many nations demonstrates the existence of a preliterate world civilization of great sophistication... a work of profound erudition. To read it is a rich and strangely moving experience.” Loren Eiseley, Professor of Anthropology and the History of Science.
“I have read Hamlet’s Mill with care and in a state of growing excitement. A book of weight… bound to start a whole tide of badly-missing studies.” Morrison, Professor of Physics.
“A controversial book . . . founded on an extraordinarily wide scholarship. Enchanting to read . . . strongly evocative ... a beautiful work.” Jerome Y. Lettvin, M.D., Professor of Communications Physiology.
The Demonstration In Pushkin Square, by Pavel Litvinov is an important document accompanied by a highly significant statement by Pavel Litvinov: this book contains the first English transcript of the trials of four Russians who demonstrated for freedom of expression.
“. . a rare look at the spectacle of Soviet ‘justice’ in action against dissent...Author Litvinov, grandson of Stalin’s Foreign Minister . . . reveals . . . the skill, wit and bravery with which the defenders utilize their limited maneuvering space.” Kirk us Reviews — a prepublication comment.
Ivt Y Rhodesia, by Frances Strauss. On November 11, 1969, Rhodesia became a republic with 217.000 white supremacists in unrestrained control of a nation of 4,000,000 blacks. Mary Cable, herself a writer of much distinction who knows Rhodesia, describes this book as follows: “Mrs. Strauss writes movingly of two Rhodesias — the comfortable and complacent white one and the vastly more populous but little known or understood black one . . . anyone who has been perplexed about the present plight of Rhodesia will learn more from this little book than from any number of newspapers or political speeches.”