A review of Call to Greatness By Adlai E. Stevenson, Harper. 125 pages. $2.25
By Lillian Secrest Buie
Cheraw Chronicle, 1956
Regardless of how you voted in the presidential campaign of 1952, you will find the reading of this book by the defeated candidate both an enlightening and inspirational experience. In no sense is "Call to Greatness" a political tirade; in fact, one definitely misses the humorous and clever quips at the opposing party which are so much a part of the Stevenson personality.
Instead we find a clear, somewhat terrifying, but on the whole optimistic picture of the world today based on the author's recent travels through 30 countries along the free side of the Iron Curtain from Seoul to Berlin, plus a frank discussion of our responsibilities as citizens of the leading democracy in what has truly become one world.
This book is taken from the Godken Lectures delivered by the author at Harvard University in March of 1954 under the title of "A Troubled World." Stevenson presents to the students a play-by-play development of the present-day world situation in the belief that "there is more real security for Americans in understanding than in H-bombs." Protected as our people have been by natural ocean barriers since our beginnings, our new dimensions are still incomprehensible to many of us. To the average American, a successful foreign policy would be one which did not involve us in foreign affairs, the ideal being total isolation.
In explaining how to meet this responsibility, Stevenson discusses the three divisions in the world today--the communist world, the allied world, and the uncommitted world. By the first we are feared and hated; the second looks to us for aid, understanding and sober leadership; the uncommitted world, nervous, argumentative, insecure, preoccupied with difficulties, wants to remain aloof but looks to us furtively and suspiciously perhaps, for understanding and friendship.
....Our greatest asset in Asia will be our natural compassion and humility, not military power and force. The greatest lesson America has yet to learn is that of patience--a conscious acceptance of Christian humility, a recognition that we will have to learn to live with many of the hard problems of the world for years and maybe centuries.
Learn more about Adlai E. Stevenson.