Books: Men of Silence

THE WATERS OF SILOE (377 PP.) —Thomas Merton—Harcourt, Brace ($3.50).

A century ago, the tiny vessel Brunswick sailed from the French port of Le Havre for New Orleans with a mixed human cargo. Of its 180 passengers, 60 were ordinary German immigrants, 80 were pre-Marxist communists who called themselves Icarians, and the other 40 were communists who called themselves Trappist monks. The Icarians were coming to the U.S. to build a materialist Utopia, the Trappists to build a monastery where they could contemplate God. The last Icarian Utopia, at Cloverdale, Calif., fizzled out...

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