Secrecy: The American Experience; Daniel Patrick Moynihan: The Intellectual in Public Life

In This Review

Secrecy: The American Experience

By Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Yale University Press, 1998
320 pp. $22.50

Daniel Patrick Moynihan: The Intellectual in Public Life

Edited by Robert A. Katzmann
Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1998
240 pp. $24.95

Senator Moynihan (D-N.Y.) bemoans the culture of secrecy that has smothered so many workings of government and lingers after the end of the Cold War. His book wanders from Anecdote to Digression and back again. This genial and lazy style makes for a light, pleasant read but also takes the punch out of an otherwise worthy argument.

A deeper appreciation for Moynihan's worth emerges from the essays edited by Katzmann, contributed in honor of Moynihan's 70th birthday in 1997. The essayists themselves are a remarkable group and did not settle for easy encomiums. They take on different aspects of Moynihan's career with enough seriousness and lively writing to give this volume lasting value. Readers who think they understand Moynihan's public career are sure to find another dimension of it here. Such a book truly honors its subject.