Books: The Life of a Carny

STEP RIGHT UP! (270 pp.]—Don Mannix—Harper ($3).

Dan Mannix was a flop at Annapolis. On review, his uniform and brace were technically correct, but the total effect reminded the commandant of somebody "going duck hunting." The Mannix temperament was incorrigibly informal for Annapolis, and the Navy gave up at the end of his plebe year (1932). Dan Mannix found a new vocation for himself—and the makings of a lively little book—when he stopped to watch Flamo, the fire-eater, in a traveling carnival show.

With his mouth full of gasoline for an aerial spray effect, Flamo misjudged and blew himself to the hospital. Mannix...

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