Books: An Enemy of the State

MODERN TIMES: THE WORLD FROM THE TWENTIES TO THE EIGHTIES by Paul Johnson; 817pages; Harper & Row; $27.95

"It is one of the dismal lessons of the 20th century," writes Paul Johnson, "that, once a state is allowed to expand, it is almost impossible to contract." John son, a lapsed liberal and a former editor of Britain's New Statesman, blames this condition on an unbridled will to power that was inadvertently released when Newton's orderly universe fell to Einstein's theory of relativity.

Einstein was no Darth Vader. How ever, Johnson argues, the belief that physical reality depended on where one stood...

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