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Spokesmen for Southern Living and Leisure were unwilling to talk very much about Wilding beyond the fact that it has about two miles of frontage on both Lake Austin and Lake Travis, will be studded with golf courses, tennis courts and swimming pools. And it will have the requisite marina. “All the amenities,” as project coordinator Don Reynolds explained it. “We’ll be the biggest thing to hit Austin.” \(Actually, it will take some doing to out-flaunt Lakeway and Lakeway World of Tennis, which proclaims itself to be the “finest tennis club in the world.” Last month, during the CBS tournament, Lakeway sprayed the trees around the courts green to give the resort a springtime Ray Shapley, the company’s PR man, was somewhat more guarded in his statements about Wilding. “We’re in a delicate situation at the moment,” he said; “because of permits pending with the City of Austin with regard to water supply and sewage disposal. We also have an application pending with the Office of Interstate Land Sales Registration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development which has to be approved before we can really start talking about Wilding.” At this time it appears unlikely that the pending permits will hit any snags. The problem of sewage disposal was solved to a large extent when Austin’s City Council authorized construction of an underground pipeline to carry the waste from affluent areas of west Austin and new developments like Wilding over to a sewage treatment plant on the east side of town, where most of the city’s poor black and chicano population lives. Water shouldn’t be a problem either, since Southern Living and Leisure has a contract with the Lower Colorado River Authority to divert up to 2181 acre/feet of water annually from the Colorado River for a payment to LCRA of 6 cents per 1,000 gallons. This agreement is awaiting final approval by the Texas Water Rights Commission. The most striking aspect of Wilding is not the uniqueness of it, which its developers will try to play up, but its universality. Similar developments are springing up everywhere. Some are federally financed, like the San Antonio projects Ronnie Dugger wrote about \(“New Towns, Old Politics” Obs., May 25, others, like Wilding and Tenneco’s Columbia Lakes development near Houston, are private. All are of such a size and scope that they will exert a profound influence on the lives of both those who live in them and those who just happen to live near them. It is no small irony that the citizens of Austin are being asked to help plan the city’s future growth, through the Austin Tomorrow program \(Obs., Nov. 16, that growth have already been determined. By Steve Barthelme Austin Larry King’s new book of old articles breaks even. There are a half dozen first class pieces, a lot of fluff, some touches of Ooze Journalism, a couple bad attitudes. Much of it is decently entertaining or enlightening. I found, however, the cumulative effect of reading all these pieces over a few days enhances their faults more than their virtues. Regardless of Viking’s desire to publish long books, there are a half dozen essays, usually short, which should have been left out. And Mr. King’s recurrent chumminess in the Introduction and notes, apparently calculated to convince us that he is “a human being,” is the only thing which calls that proposition into question. THE THREE best essays are personal ones, dealing with King’s father and two close friends, Warren Burnett and Morris Udall. A fourth “personal” essay about his son’s Midland football career, originally published in the Observer, quickly deteriorates into stick ‘figures and leftish homilies about football and the decadent west. In each of the three best pieces King seems more comfortable and less driven to build his subject up. He is more at ease. The subject is important enough in his own right, and does not need to be slipped into the pocket of some battling in the fierce struggle of our time against etc., etc. The kangaroos are there, surely, but they just mill around in the background without much to do. “The Old Man,” a long essay about King and his father which leads off the collection, is one of the best. King is writing about himself which is what he best. The essay is sentimental, but not overly so. As well, he is writing about what he obviously knows best and that too is beneficial. He comes to terms with the conflict between his father’s beliefs and values and what he feels as his own, and the result is that overconfidence and belief in kangaroos are stripped away. What seems a rather faulty peace between ideas and feelings doesn’t hold up when blood forces the author to defend the feelings. The old man is what King himself in other instances would call “racist” and “authoritarian” and so on, but here the words do not appear. They are not so important. Neither is the vapid generalizing about cultural trends, tendencies and forces. The kangaroos are idle. Larry King here comes to terms with ambiguity, and with ambivalence, and he does it gracefully THE OLD MAN AND LESSER MORTALS Larry L. King The Viking Press, 300 pages $8.95 and well. In a note on the piece King says it was very hard work and that it was cut substantially, both of which are obvious. Compared to this piece, a review of The Love Machine hiding in the back of the book looks a little silly. “A Country Lawyer and How He Grew” is 25 pages about Warren Burnett. A good piece, but probably for slightly different reasons. Again King has a strong subject who does not need shoring up. Again ambivalence works for him. There is perhaps a little too much King in the piece, and not enough detail about Burnett. And the nagging feeling that what King left out too much, that something vital is missing. Still, as it stands, a strong piece. A third essay, called “The Road to Power in Congress” describes the Congressional career of Morris Udall focusing on his 1970 race for House majority leader. The internal politics of the House of Representatives are clearly, but not minutely, described. King manages to avoid major failings of a lot of political writers such as assuming his readers know everything about particular politicians at the outset, or assuming that his readers care. THESE three stand out, although there are others which are good. An article of Jesse Hill Ford, the Tennessee novelist who shot and killed a black man near his home in November, 1970. A tolerable piece on the Grand Ole Opry. A piece about some Baltimore Colts. An uneven article about Brother Dave Gardner describes the once famous comic’s trail through small Southern clubs, dispensing right-wing viciousness to small but enthusiastic audiences. What King doesn’t seem to see in this same circumstance is his own delicate position. In a refined and more benign way, he is doing the same thing Gardner does telling them what they want to hear. Only the small but enthusiastic audience lives in Manhattan. Or, you know, Evanston, or Cambridge. A little too much of an eye on “the intellectual community” is in evidence in many of these pieces. How else explain the curious sentence: “Norman Podhoretz, originally’ exposed to the Burnett rhetoric, staggered away labeling him a ‘master of the high sardonic.’ ” Oh yeah, Norman Podhoretz. Him and Willie February 1, 1974 19 Larry L. King’s collection