Books: Beamless Lighthouse

A CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE by Robert Wool. 308 pages. World. $5.95.

A power play by the CIA to maintain the United States' dominant position in Latifundia, a fictional South American country, sounds like the inevitable background for one more pale carbon copy of The Ugly American. Classified communiques pop up like toast at the breakfast table, a recording device is hidden in a tie clip, new leaders are found by a spin-the-bottle technique, and the real rapport between nations rests on a Jellolike foundation of friendship between Latifundia's President and the American ambassador. Despite...

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