Books: Behind the Looking Glass

AMERICA BEGINS (438 pp.)—Edited by Richard M. Dorson—Pantheon ($4.50).

One day in the early 1600s, a certain gentleman of Jamestown murdered his wife, cut her in pieces and later "was burned for his horrible villainy." In Carolina, a horn snake struck at a small locust tree the thickness of a man's arm, and six hours later the tree was dead. Farther north, some Indians buried a white man, standing, with only his head above ground, scalped him and lit a fire close by. The heat made his brains boil and started his eyes gushing out of their sockets. In Casco Bay, Me.,...

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