Books: Swing of the Pendulum

MEMOIRS: 1925-1950 by George F. Kennan. 583 pages. Atlantic-Little, Brown. $10.

To many Americans under 30, the cold war seems like a scare story concocted by the older generation. But it was all too real, and no one knows it better than George Kennan. He also knows that the issues underlying the conflict have not disappeared, despite the fact that the Communist monolith has splintered into a "Humpty Dumpty" that "will not and cannot be reassembled." For the U.S., the continuing problem is how to face Communism without being either fatuously optimistic about coexistence or excessively belligerent in opposition. In dealing...

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