Digital Visions: Computers and Art , by Cynthia Goodman (Abrams and the Everson Museum of Art, $19.95). Computer art isn't just the electronic graphics used to introduce television shows, there are other, non-commercial fine arts applications as well. Published in conjunction with an exhibit, Computers and Art (sponsored by the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, N.Y.), and copiously illustrated, Digital Visions examines computer art from its beginnings as images produced on an ocilloscope screen to recent work with devices capable of producing life-like single frames or animation. Author Cynthia Goodman writes, "The computer's reception has been like that of photography's in the 19th century," but "artists have always experimented with the latest tools and computers are now especially conducive to artistic improvisation."
Eisenhower at War, 1943-1945 , by David Eisenhower (Vintage, $10.95). This book opens with a harassed American general entertaining visiting congressional delegations at the St. Georges Hotel in Algiers; when it ends, that same general -- on his way to being named an honorary citizen of the city -- is being cheered by hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of London. In the intervening months the most powerful enemy his country ever faced had been utterly annihilated. This is a political history of the European war's higher command, pitched particularly to the Allies' consciousness of resurgent Russian power. Written by the general's grandson, the book has been widely praised for its attention to detail and its fresh and sometimes surprising portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Unwinding the Vietnam War: From War Into Peace , edited by Reese Williams (Real Comet Press, 3131 Western Avenue, No. 410, Seattle, WA 98121; $13.95). Published in conjunction with the Washington Project for the Arts as part of a program called War and Memory: In the Aftermath of Vietnam, this is a collection of poetry, essays and memoirs by writers such as Bobbie Ann Mason, Robert Bly and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Also included is an interview with Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam veterans memorial.
The Best of Japan , edited by Moritaka Matsumura (Kodansha International, $24.95). Imagine if The Wall Street Journal gave awards for creative excellence to makers of American products. From a variety of innovative products, say, 20,000 each year, a group of journalists would choose 150, based on originality, planning and design, effective use of high technology, commercial success, cost performance and impact on society. This is precisely what has been happening in Japan for the past five years -- the leading economic journal in Japan, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun ("Nikkei"), has been giving awards to such products and thereby encouraging excellence in manufacturing. This catalogue describes the winning products of the 1986 "Nikkei" awards -- among them paper-thin stereo speakers (called T-E-M-A-K-I), disposable electric shavers and a hybrid vegetable that combines cabbage and spinach.
Antaeus , edited by Daniel Halpern (No. 59, Autumn, 1987, $10). Unlike many literary magazines, Antaeus has long favored theme issues: Writings about nature, a Ford Madox Ford festschrift, the relation between art and literature have been among the past year's offerings. This fall number, though, should have readers lining up: the topic is "Literature as Pleasure." Guy Davenport writes about his discovery of books, thanks to a poor neighbor whose son was in prison; one afternoon she lent the 7-year-old boy a copy of one of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan novels. From such an improbable beginning grew one of the most refined readers and learned sensibilities of our time. James Laughlin (founder of New Directions) speaks of his love affair with the classics and offers guides to the better translations available. A.L. Rowse drops names left and right as he rambles about his favorite books. Of such a collection of pieces -- by Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Ford, Roy Blount Jr., Madison Smartt Bell and half a dozen others -- one can only say that it is a pleasure to read.
The American Scholar
(Vol. 56, Autumn 1987, $5). A lot of readers pick up The American Scholar just for their quarterly dose of Joseph Epstein. This fall in his column, written under the name Aristides, Epstein writes about the pleasures and pitfalls of fame. As usual he quotes marvelously: " 'Where to?' a cab driver in Paris asked Herbert von Karajan. 'It doesn't matter,' the famous conductor is said to have replied. 'They want me everywhere.' " But the entire issue is plummy with goodies: a moving memoir of teacher and critic Francis Fergusson, an appreciation of Hoosier humorist George Ade and a revaluation of art critic Clement Greenberg, poems by Donald Davie and Craig Raine.
(Autumn 1987, $5). No quarterly is more handsome than Grand Street, and the writing matches. In this issue essays by Christopher Hitchens, Robert Sherrill, and Nicholas von Hoffmann on the Constitution make for lively reading and are sure to stir up controversy, especially from those more conservative than these musketeers of polemical journalism. Turn a page and the reader finds the quiet perfection of Charles Simic's poem "Shelley," about reading the poet against the backdrop of Greenwich Village. Intelligent literary appreciations come from Dan Jacobson on Lawrence's Women in Love and Jean-Christophe Agnew on Henry James' notebooks. Other pieces include a story by William Trevor and a meditation on photography by Richard Avedon.