The Stature of Man
Published in the UK as The Age of Defeat.
This is a complex compendium, by the author of The Outsider, which all too often resembles a brilliant term paper. Wilson has read very widely & calls on more authors than the average reader can hope to have read in order to support his thesis. This is that the inner-directed Hero is dying out of society & literature, being replaced by the other-directed man, who is haunted by a sense of insignificance, "hell is other people", Billy Graham religions, the Organization Man--& occasional crimes of violence as a desperate compensation. This interesting problem has already been treated widely by sociologists, psychologists, philosophers & writers. Wilson's attempt to include them all makes this book rather crowded. His proposed cure, that man must try turning inward "& then turning outward again" bears a strong unacknowledged resemblance to Toynbee & there are other echoes in this book. The question of redirection is certainly a pressing & absorbing one, & is pointed up in an odd way by this book, in which a man who speaks in favor of inner-direction does so largely in terms of other people's ideas.--Kirkus (edited)