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Traveling in Spiraling Circles

Traveling in Spiraling Circles

Harrison E. Salisbury: A Journey for Our Times: A Memoir; Harper & Row; New York.

A Journey for Our Times is a frustrating, almost schizophrenic book. One approaches it with anticipation if only because the author is an experienced journalist with a unique fund of knowledge about the Soviet Union. But ultimately, Salisbury manages to defeat and dispirit the most favorably disposed reader in exactly the same way that the editorial laxity of the New York Times, Salisbury’s longtime employer, ultimately overcomes one’s initial admiration for its journalistic competence. Much as a dog and its mater are said to grow more alike as the years pass, Salisbury has become a faithful reflection of the New York Times.

 

Like the New York Times, Salisbury is gorged with vanity; hist title is apparently intended to let us know that the journey “for our times” is the life of Harrison E. Salisbury as written by Harrison E. Salisbury In the course of his account, Salisbury refers to himself far more frequently than even Julius Caesar did; his model in this regard seems to have been Benvenuto Cellini. His writing improves when he is not discussing himself; unfortunately, vast stretches of his book are crammed with tedious personal...

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