His Brother’s Keeper

His Brother’s Keeper

A RADICAL’S AMERICA, by Harvey Swados. Atlantic—Little, Brown, 1962, xvii + 347 pp.

In his introduction to this collection of essays, Harvey Swados writes that he has “attempted to maintain a a tension between skepticism and idealism.” The skepticism is, however, informed by compassion, and the idealism enriched by passion. Together, they offer not alone a point of of view, but a moral intervention into what concerns us, or should concern us.

It is not so much a matter of political line, or critical agreement, as it is of attitude. In this respect, Swados can be taken as a spokesman for the kind of radicalism which I consider to be mine, which I know to be that of many of my friends, and which I would like to think has adherents in different generations, occupations, and locales.

The topical range of these essays is wide—starting with a consideration of the present relevance of Upton Sinclair’s Jungle, and ending with “Why Resign from the Human Race?” (which provoked more letters on its appearance in Esquire in 1959 than any article in the magazine’s history). Between them are considerations of such diverse subjects as “Robinson Crusoe—the Man Alone,&#...

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