Social Scientist. v 7, no. 84 (July 1979) p. 57.


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Memoirs of an Angry American

DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN, A DANGEROUS PLAGE, Allied Publishers Private Limited, 1979, pp 297, Rs 30.

DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN has always excelled at being controversial. He has now given us a devastating Book of Revelations of particular interest to us in India. The book, which is essentially a self-righteous account of Moynihan's diplomatic experiences, is at the same time the memoirs of an Angry American —desperately angry at the dramatic decline of American influence throughout the world. This decline, says Moynihan, is accurately reflected in the fact that "the United States is increasingly isolated in a dangerous world." The growing American isolation became painfully evident to him during his term as US Ambassador to the United Nations from 1975 to 1976. He attributes the international American nosedive to several factors—the Watergate scandal, the disgrace and forced resignation of Nixon, the highest offices in the land filled by men unelected by the people (a reference to Ford and Rockefeller), shocking disclosures of violent and murderous adventures by the CIA and FBI, and finally, the stinging American defeat in Vietnam.

Moynihan has been in the thick of American government and politics for several years. He has served in the cabinet or sub-cabinet of no less than four US Presidents—Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. Apart from being Ambassador to the United Nations, he has also served as Ambassador to India from 1973 to 1975. He is currently the US Senator from New York State. In addition to this, he is one of the leading lights of the American academic community and was Professor of Government at Harvard University. Moynihan thus evidently speaks from a considerable degree of experience and authority, and this enhances the importance of the book. The conclusions to which his experience and



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