In This Review

The Dream of Deliverance in American Politics
The Dream of Deliverance in American Politics
By Mona Harrington
Knopf, 1986, 308 pp.

This is a subtle and sophisticated exploration of how American political experience has fostered competing myths about the nation's capacity to solve all problems: the myth of salvation through grass-roots control, through disinterested experts, and through the voice of public opinion. The author sees all three myths as sharing the dangerous assumption that "right rules will contain the chronic tendency in human affairs toward the abuse of power." Her radical and sober view is that "the very structure and power of the industrialism that is at the base of our economic life" create threats to liberty and equality that cannot be solved by relying on the old myths.