In This Issue
Explore the May 1968 print edition below. Or to discover more writing from the pages of The Atlantic, browse the full archive.
What has happened to the idea of freedom in the United States? A lot that is not good, the eminent writer and NEW YORKERcorrespondent Richard Rovere believes. Especially among the young and supposedly radical thinkers, impetuous verbiage obscures a disregard verging on contempt for the basic individual liberties. Mr. Rovere’s newest book (his seventh), WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG muddy, has just been published by Atlantic-Little, Brown.
Since the birth of the republic, Presidents have been appointing commissions to probe into various aspects of American life. What few citizens know ,however, is that presidential commissions have been the subject of a probe themselves. The heretofore secret records of the Commission on Commission-Watching .leaked to our Washington reporter by the Stamps editor of the Washington POST,are here bared. It should be noted that Mrs. Crew’s report does not encompass the most recent proposal for a presidential commission, the one said to be endorsed by the Robert Kennedy forces and to be established by President Johnson to investigate the President’s own conduct of the Vietnam War. That deserves its own separate probe.
This introduces a new Atlantic feature from the pen of Edward Sorel, the artist and caricaturist. From the worlds of politics, public affairs, diplomacy, academia, and entertainment, Mr. Sorel and the Atlantic editors will frequently pluck candidates for slightly irreverent enshrinement in these pages. Readers are invited to join in. For each unfamiliar quotation that strikes the fancies of the artist and the editors, the Atlantic will award a $50 prize.
“If you rule out dirty hands, don’t you rule out politics?“ This is one of several touchy questions confronted by Professor Ellul, who teaches the history of law and social history at the University of Bordeaux. His reputation, already strong in Europe, has grown in the United Stales with publication by Alfred Knopf of three of his books (THE TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY.1964; PROPAGANDA,1965; and THE POLITICAL ILLUSION,1967 ).This essay is drawn from the new Ellul book, A CRITIQUE OF THE NEW COMMONPLACES,translated from the French by Helen Weaver,and scheduled by Knopf for publication in May.
“A glimpse into the workshop“ is how Walt Whitman described his “blue book,“ the author’s own intimate copy of LEAVES OF GRASS,with his many notes, revisions, and comments on his master work. Now reproduced for the first time (in a facsimile edition), the BLUE BOOKaffords Mr. Kaplan, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning MR. CLEMENS AND MARK TWAIN,an opportunity for a revealing reassessment of Whitman the man. Mr. Kaplan is at present working on a biography of Lincoln Steffens.
On March 31, 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States, became a casually of the war in Vietnam, a war that started years before he became President but which, in his time of leadership, grew in intensity and threatened to disrupt this republic, How the fate of LBJ and the course of the Vietnam War became interlocked is the subject of this study by the Washington columnist and bureau chief of the New York TIMES. It is taken from Mr. Wicker’s new book, JFK & LBJ: A STUDY OF THE INFLUENCE OF PERSONALITY ON POLITICS,to be published later this month by Morrow.