Wednesday, December 1, 1993

Book Review: Robert Jay Lifton, The Protean Self


First appeared in the Boston Globe.

Robert Jay Lifton, The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation (Basic Books, $25.00, 262 pgs)

Over the course of his long and influential career as a writer and student of the human psyche, Robert Jay Lifton has avoided detours, sidetracks and secondary phenomenon. He has proceeded unerringly toward the central lesions of the age — brainwashing, Vietnam, the nuclear threat, and “darkest of all,” by his own accounting, the mentality of Nazi doctors. 

Wednesday, September 1, 1993

Book Review: The Moral Sense


First appeared in the Boston Globe.

James Q. Wilson
The Moral Sense
The Free Press, New York, 1993.

“If man is infinitely malleable, he is much at risk from the various despotisms of this world.” This statement, occurring near the end of The Moral Sense, might just as well have served as its preamble. The notion that humanity is infinitely malleable, that we come equipped with nothing that might serve as an inherent counterweight to tyranny, is one James Wilson, former head of Harvard’s government department, strives to disprove.