Getting On With Life IN 1982 Barbara Webster learned that the chronic fatigue, weakness and stumbling gait she had experienced for 14 years was caused by multiple sclerosis. Although the diagnosis afforded some "relief" by at last pinpointing the cause, the battle of getting on with life with this illness was not yet won. What literature there was focused only on the physical consequences of this illness or how to cope with it through hope and denial. Nowhere to be found was an assessment of the emotional and social consequences of chronic disease.
Webster's book, All of a Piece (available from Johns Hopkins University Press), fills that void. Operating from the belief that physical consequences can be accepted despite great difficulty, she addresses the need to see clearly, to acknowledge, and then integrate into one's self the individual emotional, social and even cultural consequences of living a life framed by chronic illness or disability. JAY L. WITKIN Vienna Love in the Rain Forest
PERHAPS ONLY in books is it possible to go home again, and I did recently when I reread Green Mansions for the first time since I was a girl. Twenty-five years later, the magic remained. W.H. Hudson's haunting romance, published in 1904, is the story of the love between the bird girl Rima and the European Abel in the jungles of Venezuela. Hudson provides more than plot; he provides a meditation on the human spirit. Never simplistic, he does not merely contrast the superficiality and hollowness of city life with the depth and mystery of nature. In Hudson's view, nature may be where truth and beauty lie, but few appreciate or understand nature's fragile wonders, and there resides the true contemporaneity of Green Mansions.
Today's passionate concern for the environment, particularly the rain forests that are this novel's setting, may make Hudson "relevant," but he goes much further to remind us of the practical need to conserve our natural resources. A Dover paperback editions are available, but a trip to used bookstores is worthwhile. It is still possible to find inexpensive earlier editions of Green Mansions, with lush, lovely illustrations. RENEE HAUSMANN SHEA Rockville Battle Lessons
I RECENTLY picked up a copy of The German Generals Talk, by Basil H. Liddell Hart. Written before his better-known books on strategy and World Wars I and II, it is a report of Lidell Hart's lengthy interviews with surviving German generals immediately following the war's end. Although their statements are often self-serving, the German generals emerge as a mix of dignified old-line Prussian professionals, aggressive, boorish Nazi political generals, and several "who would have looked in their natural place at any conference of bank managers or civil engineers." There are many insights into the process by which military men, under the imperatives of patriotism, loyalty to sworn oaths, and advancing in their professional careers, can rationalize their support of a Hitler. Liddell Hart's book repays careful reading and rereading, not only as history but as a cautionary tale of the dynamics of war.
The German Generals Talk is available in a Morrow paperback edition and in hardcover in used book stores. BRUCE A. JOHNSTON Jefferson, Md.