Decline of the West
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Coppernica, a country which bears a terrifying fictional resemblance to the Belgian Congo, is engaged in the struggle for independence, the blood of violence, the clinging greed and moribund assumptions of white imperialism. Caute, also a political historian (Communism and the French Intellectuals, 1914-1960) has a dramatic grasp of history; he is able to make this book speak through individual realities within the scope of its setting--Africa, Europe and the U.S. Starkly, the book follows the events after a reactionary coup made against the government of Coppernica. The immediate action is preceded by flashbacks into the lives of the principal characters--the African Odouma in Paris, in love with a French Communist; Laval, tortured by the Gestapo, a sadistic leader of the mercenaries; James Caffrey, an indecisive English youth; Jason Bailey, an American Negro, hopelessly in love with a white girl; Deedes, a Scot, broken after what he witnessed in a Kenya prison. Men in violence--making evil, meeting it, victim of it, or morally incapable of handling it. Some of it is difficult to read, amorphous, but the essential worth of the book is that through exhaustive realism Caute has surfaced recent history. Caute says something well, in anger, that is painful and crucial to remember.
to tip, where the rod of steel confronted the rod of flesh. "Four centimetres only," declared Annette harshly. "Let me tell you at once, Captain Laval, that few men can stand less than ten centimetres and that none has previously beaten six." "Hermann has the French national, all-comers, European and world records," murmured Jean Martignac sleepily. "He is the champ." "I am unable to believe," Strauss announced, staring at Andre with the same remorseless hunger with which von Schlieffen had once
"At this moment they should be reaching their destination." "Which is?" Laval scowled. "One thing at a time." "The Commandant," Ybele explained obsequiously, "quite naturally wants to know where he stands. If he has served you well, Tufton, you ought not to take it for granted. It has required an enormous effort of willpower on his part to separate himself not only from Plon, but from Keller and the vast majority of his colleagues. The Commandant is a Frenchman. He adores France—as we all do.
of Soames' sensibilities. He would have preferred, even at the cost of diminished efficiency, rather more concession to human confusion and the follies of spontaneity. He accounted it a blemish on the French mentality, this urge to schematize, to mould the world into the severe cast of universality. "Well," said Soames, "we are today entering the seventh week." Chester Silk was momentarily at a loss. "Of the famous Year One," Soames reminded him. "Oh Jesus, that," Chester said. "I daresay
in rivulets down his lion's jowl. The clock said one minute past noon, and Tukhomada's. small, soft featured head adjusted itself to the renewed pressure of life in the stratosphere of history. The youngest of those present, Amah Odouma, stirred restlessly, remembering the long, tapering memorial to his sister Camille which pierced the sky above her native Thiers* ville—the tribute of a people to its Joan. He had written poem, once, about the uncut hair of graves. He knew at last who had
uphold—but he discovered only wax masks. Recovering himself a little, he pointed out that he himself had drunk from the same water cart without suffering ill effects. Murdoch nodded briefly and asked him whether he would like to be flown home at once, at the same time pointing out that such a concession could only be conditional. Were Deedes to take it into his head to open an unauthorized discussion of the affair in England, he would of course be guilty of perjury, contempt and treason. It would