To the editors:
John Stevenson's review of Marge Piercy's Gone to Soldiers [May 20] is an attempt to disguise an anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist diatribe as literary criticism.
As an editorial page commentary, it would be acceptable. Your decision to publish it as a serious book review is unconscionable.
Alan J. Birkner
John Stevenson replies:
Yes, I wrote about many things in my review of Gone to Soldiers: about the meaning of World War II in world history and for the United States, about how that war shaped our era--and about the meaning of Israel as a "Jewish state" erected in Palestine by the victorious European and American powers in the wake of the war. All of this has to do with the meaning--social, political, moral--of Piercy's novel. I guess it's true that none of these topics--central as they are to the import of the book--are part of pure literary aesthetics. But so what?