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Sunday, beptember 28, 1 7
Nora Ephron: A reporter's
window on the woman's world
Drew's Washington Journal:
New perspective on old news
Drew paid particular attention to the moderate Republican mem-
bers, watching their growing anguish over the impeachment ques-
tion be finally overcome by a mounting certitude about the Presi-
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Ti I. EV VL
CRAZY SALAD by Nora Eph-
ron. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
201 pp., $7.95
By LAURA BERMAN
'H E FIRST piece I ever read
by Nora Ephron was "A Few
Words About Breasts" which ap-
peared in Esquire in 1972 and
which is the first piece in this
collection of her magazine ar-
ticles about women. It is, as its
title suggests, about breasts
and, specifically, about Nora
Ephron's breasts which she
thought too small because peo-
ple of both sexes encouraged her
to think they were. "A Few
Words About Breasts" is very
funny, poignant and gutsy and
when I read it as a flat-chested
senior in high school, I was con-
vinced I had discovered a great
Crazy Salad is testimony to
the fact I was not alone in my
discovery. Ephron writes about
herself, about the women's
movement, about personalities
like Dorothy Parker, Julie Nixon
Eisenhower and Rose Mary
Woods. She has also chosen
some unusual topics like the
Pillsbury Bake-Off (what kind of
a woman enters the Pillsbury
Bake-Off?), and the saga of the
feminine hygiene spray.
IHE SNEERS at the women
who devote ther lives to en-
tering contests and she is not
overly kind to the men who de-
veloped a feminine hygiene
spray, but she's tough on things
she believes in too. Though a
feminist, she aims some hard
blows at the women's move-
ment. Her piece on the Demo-
cratic Convention in 1972 takes
a harsh look at behind-the-
scene squabbles among Wo-
men's Movement leaders.
She characterizes Betty Frie-
dan as a bitter, aging woman
struggling to maintain power
while Gloria Steinem is "the
beautiful thin lady" trying to
take it away from her.
She "exposes" her conscious-
ness-raising group: "My con-
sciousness-raising group is still
going on," she writes. "Every
Monday night it meets, some-
where in Greenwich Village,
and it drinks a lot of red wine
and eats a lot of cheese."
On the self-help movement,
she says, "We have lived
through the era when happiness
was a warm puppy and the era
when happiness was a dry mar-
tini and now we have come to
the era when happiness is know-
ing what your uterus looks like."
"T'S NOT JUST her clever
lines, though, that make Eph-
ron such an entertaining writer
-or rather, it is her clever lines
fore she became a columnist for
slick magazines she was a news-
paper reporter and she has all
the skills and instincts of a good
one. She doesn't just write: she
puts issues, people, events, in
perspective - in her perspec-
tive, true, but she views things
differently from everyone else.
She looks harder.
On Julie Nixon Eisenhower,
she writes about the reporters
who say that Julie doesn't seem
like a Nixon - "a remark so!
absurd as to make one conclude
that they have been around Nix
on so long they don't recognize
a chocolate covered spider when:
they see one."
When Crazy Salad was pub-
lished, one male reviewer de-
scribed Ephron as "cute". Well,.
she's not cute. She's tough, she's
clever, she's incisive - but cute
she's not. Which is why she's so
WASHINGTON JOURNAL by Eliza-
beth Drew. New York: Random House;
412 pp., $12.75.
By STEPHEN SELBST
ELIZABETH DREW'S BOOK about
Watergate, Washington Journal, of-
fers the reader few grand conclusion%
about the lessons to be learned from that
scandal. It simply contains Drew's re-
actions to the dizzying, numbing year
starting with Labor Day, 1973, and end-
ing the day Nixon left office. If that
sounds unimportant, it's not, although it
might hav% been, in the hands of an-
The subject could have been disas-
trously dull, but several factors keep
Drew's work interesting. Her writing
Style contributes mightily to the value of
the journal. Drew is a reporter, and she
brings her skill of capturing the imme-
diacy of an event into the pages of the
Her memories of the year's occur-
rences were so vivid that I often found
myself recalling my own reactions to
the same news. And Washington Journal
has a Where-were-you-when-Kennedy-
was-shot intensity that makes any read-
er begin to remember events.
WASHINGTON JOURNAL presents
more than a synopsis of the events
surrounding Watergate. Instead of re-
written newspaper stories, Drew gives us
the words of major sources with satisfy-
ing depth. For example, in an interview
with Ken Clawson, White House Director
of Communications, right after the Sat-
urday Night Massacre, Clawson explicit-
ly spells out the White House position
with unprecedented candor.
These types of interviews are both an
advantage and a drawback for the book.
Drew herself is never forced to specu-
late about the motives of the people she
covered, which is a strength, for like a
camera, the facts are perfectly record-
ed. But on the other hand, it means that
the author injects little of herself into
the work. She portrays a gut reaction,
but never much personality. However,
Drew obviously never intended to put
herself in the Journal, as it was con-
ceived as recording of facts and not as
Her coverage of the House Judiciary
Committee forms the core of the book,
and it is by far the best part. Drew be-
gan covering the committee in late 1974,
long before most Americans had even
heard of it. But the groundwork paid off,
because she not only built contacts, but
was able to point out changes in the at-
titudes of committee members in a grad-
ually altering spectrum rather than re-
cording abrupt reverses of positions.
She paid particular attention to the
moderate Republican members - sev-
eral of whom later voted for impeach-
ment - because she recognized their im-
portance. And through watching them
over a long period of time, Drew effec-
tively shows their growing anguish and
doubt over the impeachment question
be finally overcome by a mounting cer-
titude about the President's guilt.
THE BOOK IS also very much about
Washington - as surely as it is a
journal. In no other city on earth is the
preoccupation with politics so encom-
passing, and Drew captures that spirit.
She mentions the way rumors sweep the
town, the way some subjects are the
topic of constant debate in the capital
long before the rest of the country is
aware of them, and above all, she re-
builds the tortured tension of that year.
If there is a flaw with Washington
.Journal, it lies in its publication date.
Coming out over a year after the Nixon
resignation, it's freshness - the book's
best quality - has vanished. And most
people have , suffered enough thinking
about Watergate and, for better or worse,
would like to forget about the agony, at
least for a while.
DESPITE THE FACT that the journal
may find little audience now, it should
survive the future well, and its historical
value seems assured. It puts events into
perspective without rhetoric and I can
foresee recommending it to an intelligent
adolescent, who asks, a generation
hence, "What was Watergate really all
HELD OVER WITH LOVE
in 1500 Theatres Nationwide.
it was History's first 3 day standing ovation!..
the country's wild about "Harry"!A
lad g Wtqdnpresents
as Hurry S. Truman in
O NA SAUNOTFIACKRhr
..O t ARTISTS O A R Y Technicolor'
do make ner entertainingbu. Laura Berman is the former
her perceptions and directness
make her something more. Be- Daily Sunday Magazine Editor.
Gayness and Spirituality
Sunday afternoon conversations about
the relationship between people's spir-
itual and sexual journeys.
SUNDAYS at 3:00 p.m.
beginning September 28, 1975
7}I R BUY
I______ 'W8106ent deporiefoundt
ann ar bor Mch ar '8108' teehone 60-0b06
City Editor, spent
as a reporter in
The Hague Philharmonic
and Festival Chorus
JEAN MARTINON conducting
SAINT-SAENS: Symphony in A major
STRAVINSKY: Symphony of Psalms
NIELSEN: Symphony No. 4 ("Inextinguishable")
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For Soviet Jews
Monday, Sept. 29
12 Noon on the Diag
AT PIZZA PRICES
1 HEAPING PLATE OF
SPAGHETTI, with tomato and
meat sauce prepared in
SALAD: crisp greens with
your, choice of dressing.
COFFEE, TEA, WINE, or BEER.
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