Books: Sisyphus in Washington

THE LIVING PRESIDENCY

by EMMET JOHN HUGHES 377 pages. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. $10.50.

Long before the revisionist historians appeared, way back during the cold war, when the U.S. still believed that freedom to spend and freedom to vote were signs of an inviolable national excellence, Emmet John Hughes wrote a book called America the Vincible. A former journalist, Hughes had served as an adviser to President Eisenhower. Self-righteousness, selfdelusion, lack of humor and inflexibility, he felt, were dividing the world and leading U.S. policy to disaster.

In the ensuing ten years or...

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