September 28, 1981 12:00 PM

by James Clavell

The author of such mammoth, sweeping epics as Shogun and Tai-Pan wrote this brief tale to make the point that children recite the Pledge of Allegiance without knowing what the words mean. Clavell’s book seems to suggest that this will result in classroom takeovers by beautiful young teachers in green uniforms who will deliver anti-God messages and encourage children to cut up the flag. That notion created a political flap when the story first appeared in the Ladies’ Home Journal 18 years ago, and there’s a big PR push to make sure it doesn’t happen with this publication. Hardly seems worth the trouble. The totalitarian allegory is muddled, superficial and preachy. Clavell’s 1,206-page Noble House is the biggest, most expensive book around for action-fantasy fans. This one, originally inspired by one of his children, indicates he covets the Jonathan Livingston Seagullcrowd, too. (Delacorte, $7.95)

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