Harold R. Isaacs

Harold R. Isaaca is Professor of Political Science at M.I.T.

  • Straw Sandals

    Chinese Stories of Social Realism, 1918-1933

    Harold R. Isaacs

    Straw Sandals is a collection of 23 stories, a play, and a poem by 16 Chinese writers selected to represent the radical literature produced in China between 1918 and 1933. It was assembled in Peking in 1934 by Harold R. Isaacs with the advice and guidance of Lu Hsün, China's foremost literary figure of this century, and Mao Tun, leading novelist of the younger group that had gathered around Lu Hsün in those tumultuous years.

    The first half of the collection, including several of Lu Hsün's most famous stories, typifiers work that appeared in the first years of China's modern cultural renaissance—short stories written in vernacular Chinese that rejected surviving Chinese traditionalism with its philosophic and social outlooks, its rules of behavior for family life and relationships between men and women. The second group of stories reflects the growing ideological and political turbulence of the 1920s and 1930s.

    Straw Sandals is introduced by Professor Isaacs, who describes the historical setting in which this short-lived and violence-ridden literary movement tried to make its way. He vividly presents the Shanghai of that period, where many of these writers struggled to pursue their craft and were caught between the pressures of Kuomintang repression (many were imprisoned and executed) and the demands for total conformity inside the Communist movement. His account adds an ironic perspective to the collection in the light of all that has happened since that time—for the writers who survived Kuomintang repression and the war against Japan to see the Communist victory they had fought so hard and so long to bring about ultimately fell in their turn in the repeated purges that marked the Communist regime's imposition of total control over all art and literature.

    The English translations of a number of these stories first appeared in the China Forum, a journal that Professor Isaacs edited and published in Shanghai from 1932 to 1934. They were made by a distinguished Chinese language scholar, the late George A. Kennedy, while he was teaching I a Shanghai school. The rest of the collection was translated by several Chinese collaborators and then edited by Isaacs.

    The book includes updated biographical notes on the writers, many of which were originally supplied by the writers themselves, and some notes by Mao Tun on underground literary magazines of the period.

    • Hardcover $22.50
    • Paperback $5.95
  • Project Nero

    Near-Earth Rescue and Operations

    MIT Students' System Project, Harold R. Isaacs, James V. Carroll, and John F. Neyhard

    Project NERO (for Near-Earth Rescue and Operations) depicts in practical detail a kind of “Coast Guard” for astronauts, designed to provide emergency aid and everyday service in space. The fleet of vehicles proposed here, together with the ground-based tracking systems, might one day be the launches and lighthouses of the Space Age. The Project is a design study undertaken by a group of students at M.I.T. and had as its object the detailed planning of an integrated system to fill needs that will become critical as the Apollo and other programs take off into their advanced stages. Based on present-day engineering techniques and employing a booster (the Titan III-C) whose capabilities have already been demonstrated, it could be made operational by the early 1970's. With this booster, whose upper-stage engines use storable fuels, the system can be counted down to T-minus-195 minutes and held in stand-by readiness for up to 30 days, thus backing up even extended flights. The proposal calls for a versatile vehicle capable of performing a variety of missions, including:-Rescue of astronauts whose craft is in distress. The vehicle has a crew of two, but it can seat two survivors in addition.-Delivery of supplies, fuel, and replacements to long-range manned missions, like the Manned Orbital Laboratory.-Repair of malfunctioning unmanned satellites, such as the orbiting Astronomical Observatory.-Inspection of unidentified orbiting objects and foreign matter, including suspicious satellites launched by other powers.-Flotsam collection and disposal on such debris as inert orbiting boosters and burned-out satellites. It is estimated that already more than a thousand man-made objects are floating in space. If these and those of the future are not somehow scavenged or destroyed, man will not only have created for himself a serious navigational hazard but will have to admit “space pollution” to the list of his ambiguous achievements in changing the face of the earth and its environs.

    While there can be no doubt that the techniques described in this book will be further refined in the years ahead, it is felt that sufficient technical data are presented here to be useful as a basis for projects that are bound to be launched at an increasing rate in the future.

    • Paperback $8.95