Books: Lerner's Flying Carpet

AMERICA AS A CIVILIZATION (1,036 pp.) —Max Lerner—Simon & Schuster ($ 10).

"Providence has under its special care children, idiots, and the United States of America." This famed remark, attributed to Lord Bryce (The American Commonwealth), was a Briton's backhanded way of saying that the U.S. was a success. With few such perceptive quips but a relentless, mind-clogging avalanche of scholarly quotes, furrow-browed Columnist (New York Post) Max Lerner, 55, says much the same thing in his physically massive (1,036 pages) survey of America as a Civilization. The unavowed note of irony is that, like many a liberal-leftist prodigal son of the...

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