Books: Wounds and Ironies

RIDING HIGH by CARL SOLBERG 632 pages. Mason & Lipscomb. $1 2.95.

Imperial Rome lasted nearly 500 years. The British Empire flourished for more than a hundred. In 1947 Harry Truman urged that "the whole world should adopt the American system." His country spent something like a trillion dollars one way or another to encourage just that. But the American century, so boldly sought, lasted only a decade and a half. That period, moreover, will go down in history not as a triumph but as the time of a thoroughly ambiguous enterprise known as...

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