Books: Heaven and Earth in the Balkans

BLACK LAMB AND GREY FALCON—Rebecca West—Viking ($7.50).

One day in 1934 British Novelist Rebecca West, who was listening to the radio in a hospital, called her nurse and said:

"I must speak to my husband at once. A most terrible thing has happened. The King of Yugoslavia has been assassinated."

"Oh dear!" said the nurse, "did you know him?"

"No."

"Then why do you think it's so terrible?"

The nurse's question made Rebecca West remember that the word "idiot" comes from a Greek root meaning a private person, and that idiocy is a "female defect" of women...

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