Books: Point of Disorder

PRESERVE AND PROTECT by Allen Drury. 394 pages. Doubleday. $6.95.

Taking on an Allen Drury political melodrama is like harpooning a blimp at three feet. It is not only impossible to miss, but every thrust is likely to be fatal. To begin with, there is the dreary genre itself—a peek-into-the-future theme that titillates with dark allusions to the present. Then there are Drury's characters, a confusion of ideological wind-up toys carelessly slapped down to accommodate the easily distracted. There are the plots that are not plots but crisis situations on "which each character is obliged to comment, regardless of the triviality of...