In response to:

Spies from the January 20, 1966 issue

To the Editors:

…[Walter Laqueur’s] review of Spy and The Penkovskiy Papers (Feb. 3) begins: “Spy stories have been a legitimate literary genre ever since Joshua Ben Nun was sent into the Land of Canaan…” Mr. Laqueur has a curious notion of espionage. Even without bothering to look it up (Joshua II.I: “And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies…”), it would be an absurdity to suppose that the Commander-in-Chief, himself, would go on such a mission. The allusion would have been even more to the point if Laqueur had got it right. Joshua’s security system seems to have worked pretty well. The two spies’ names are never mentioned anywhere in the Bible. That information, apparently, is still classified.

David R. Slavitt

Harwich, Massachusetts

This Issue

February 17, 1966