The Vermont Papers (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Frank Bryan’s and John McClaughry’s recipe for rejuvenating democracy is of, by, and for Vermont. The authors are a University of Vermont political science professor and a state senator from Kirby, respectively. The book was designed in Montpelier, typeset in Barre, and printed in Brattleboro. Furthermore, it is dedicated to that quintessential Vermont renegade, Ethan Allen The authors propose a reorganization of Vermont polity by which many of the functions of state government would devolve upon smaller units to be called “shires,” a term symbolizing for Bryan and McClaughry the feisty independence of Saxon England and governmental structure grounded upon freehold property and communal responsibility. To counter the relentless modern centralization of political power, with its burgeoning bureaucracy, impersonality, remoteness from the citizens it is supposed to serve, and allegiance to the “systems axiom,” they offer a plan and even a timetable by which Vermont could be transformed into a federation of shires perhaps three times as numerous as Vermont’s present fourteen counties but also more homogeneous and as nearly autonomous as possible.
Although this book is addressed primarily to the student of political reform and to the Vermonter who, feeling increasingly dominated by Montpelier, yearns to march to a different, more local, drummer, the authors are also counting on Americans in general to peep over the Vermonter’s shoulder. They...
(The entire section is 2397 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Booklist. LXXXV, August, 1989, p. 1928.
Bookwatch. X, August, 1989, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times. September 27, 1989, V, p. 4.
National Review. XLI, September 15, 1989, p. 47.
Publishers Weekly CCXXXV, May 19, 1989, p. 73.
Reason. XXI, November, 1989, p. 53.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, June 18, 1989, p. 13.
Yankee. LIII, October, 1989, p. 124.
(The entire section is 40 words.)