Books: History's Pendulum

EAST AND WEST by C. Northcote Parkinson. 330 pages. Houghton M/fflm. $5.

It was his humorous Law No. 1 ("Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion") that put Cyril Northcote Parkinson's name right up there beside Calvin Coolidge's ("When more and more people are thrown out of work, unemployment results"). This book now puts Historian Parkinson in the position of the comedian who has had his audience in stitches, clears his throat and says, "But, seriously . . ."

Alternating Phases. Parkinson's thesis is that the whole of civilized history can be reduced to the confrontation of the...

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