Books: Protean Gnome

LOKI:* The Life of Charles Proteus Steinmetz—Jonathan Norton Leonard— Doubleday, Doran ($2.75).

When a boy-child makes Solomon's temple out of blocks, then sets it afire, or pours water over the red carpet to turn the wheel of his mill, what can grandmother do but send him out to play?

For the boy born to the Steinmetzes of Breslau in April of 1865, alfresco play was difficult. Deformed son of a deformed father, gnomelike little Karl was smaller than most, also weak-legged, humpbacked, bigheaded, crablike. In kindergarten, learning became his play. From 7...

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