Book Reviews : Montesquieu's System of Natural Government. By HENRY J. MERRY. (West Lafayette: Purdue University Studies, 1970. Pp.xv,414. $8.50.)

AuthorWilliam B. Gwyn
Date01 December 1970
Published date01 December 1970
Subject MatterArticles
level have not been overcome. The officers, enlisted men and their dependents,
with some exceptions, count the days until the end of their &dquo;hardship tour,&dquo; and
avoid contacts with the Turks whom they dislike and distrust. They prefer the
closed circuit of the American military clubs, commissary, exchange, and depen-
dent schools. The Turkish majority community reciprocates the antagonistic feel-
ings and has engaged in some rather serious anti-American rioting. Unfortunately,
Wolf does not relate the military community problems to the broader context of
intergovernmental relations, but ethnic isolation and exacerbated relationships on
personal and local levels can hardly be helpful.
The core military function can be described as the ordered application of force
for the promotion of societal goals. Wolf believes (I agree) that it is unrealistic
to expect the authoritarian military institution to be effective in cross-cultural
relations of a different sort. If one posits the goal of &dquo;winning the hearts and
minds of the people&dquo; abroad, it is quixotic to appoint soldiers to accomplish the
University of California, Santa Barbara
Montesquieu’s System of Natural Government. By HENRY J. MERRY. (West
Lafayette: Purdue University Studies, 1970. Pp.xv,414. $8.50.)
In view of his influence on American constitutional thought and his emphasis
on sociological and social psychological aspects of politics, it is odd that American
students of political thought have shown relatively little interest in Montesquieu.
Professor Merry’s book is to be welcomed as the first published extended American
account of Montesquieu’s political ideas. It will probably have an important part
in shaping future scholarly controversy about the subject.
Merry’s study is primarily concerned with L’Esprit des Lois, but he also makes
frequent use of Les Lettres Persanes and lesser known writings. Quite correctly,
in my opinion, he treats L’Esprit des Lois as...

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