Books: Talk of the Nation

U.S. JOURNAL by Calvin Trillin. 314 pages. Dutton. $6.50.

On Armed Forces Day 1959, Calvin Trillin and 20 other men of the First United States Army descended by helicopter on Governors Island, then an administrative Army base in New York harbor. In a mock assault they liberated an incinerator from a contingent of computer clerks. Practically under the skirts of the Statue of Liberty, and with the Lebanon crisis undoubtedly fresh in his memory, Trillin fired blanks from his machine gun for the entertainment of officers and visiting Boy Scouts.

Trillin relates his Army story as humorous counterpoint to his deadpan account of...

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