Books: Lament for an Inquisitor

THE DEATH OF ACHILLES by Victor Price. 308 pages. Doub/ec/ay. $4.50.

The 20th century has acquired title to the political inquisition, as it has to the internal-combustion engine, not by invention but by refinement. The modern subtlety is the obscene symbiosis in which interrogator and victim cooperate willingly in an elaborate pretense of the victim's guilt. And the basic document of this condition is the long dialogue between Rubashov and Gletkin in Koestler's Darkness at Noon.

What is horrifying about the Koestler novel is that the reader becomes convinced that in Rubashov's place he himself would become a complying victim. Anyone in...

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