Art books, some very expensive, sold extremely well, and some of them were of major importance (e.g., The Penguin History of Art Series). Supermarkets sold dictionaries and encyclopedias by the hundreds of thousands. Enough people were worried by Why Johnny Can't Read to boost it way up on the bestseller lists; not enough were interested in challenging reading to do as much for Walter Lippmann's The Public Philosophy, a disputatious essay on the need of natural law at democracy's base.

Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, outsold every other book of the year by a good margin, and at the...

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