Books: Rich Hoard

THE BEST OF THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, 1915-1950 (369 pp.)—Edited by Martha Foley—Houqhton Mifflin ($3.75).

Of all literary forms in U.S. writing, the short story has thrived most. Since 1915, when Edward O'Brien started his yearbook of The Best American Short Stories, more than 50,000 have appeared in books and magazines; how many remain unpublished, few would dare (or care) to guess.

Martha Foley, who took over O'Brien's job in 1941, has combed 35 annual anthologies and selected from them the 25 "best best" stories. The result, though highly readable, has some notable gaps. Because Editor Foley chose to abide by the...

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