Books: The Atomic Blues

THE NEW MEN (311 pp.)—C. P. Snow —Scribner ($3.50).

THE HOUND OF EARTH (250 pp.)—I/once Bourjaily—Scribner ($3.50).

These books are bedside bulletins in the form of novels about two scientists who suffer a crisis of conscience over the atom bomb. British Novelist C. P. Snow charts the crisis in stately prose; U.S. Novelist Vance Bourjaily prefers a honky-tonk jazz tempo. But they both reach an annoyingly simple and characteristically 20th century diagnosis—life is a dirty trick.

The hero of The New Men is a run-of-the-treadmill English physicist named Martin Eliot. Early in World War II, Martin decides that he wants 1) success and 2)...

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