Little Brother & Kid Sister

Caroline Bird: The Good Years: Yours Life in the Twenty-First Century; E. P. Dutton; New York.

Richard Louv: America II; Jeremy Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin; Los Angeles.

There are some serious people in the United States today attempting to ensure that the next generation of Americans has a decent place to live. Unfortunately, none of their work is recounted in either of the volumes reviewed here. Instead, these books are a product of the cottage industry within the publications establishment that projects "developing trends" into a vaporous future, assuming that everything will continue in some "inevitable" direction. Successful practitioners of such forecasting have the good sense to grab onto some obvious trends (e.g., greater use of computers) and some primitive human instincts (most obviously, the desire for survival). Combine them, and presto! We arrive at the prediction that, in the future, we are going to have security forces that rely upon video screens and computer controls rather than the beat patrolman of yesteryear. Both Mr. I.ouv and Mrs. Bird are companions in the effort to expand such basic observations into book­ length impressions that they see more into the future than most of the rest of us.


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