Books: Assistant Executioner

ROCKING THE BOAT [300 pp.)—Gore Vidal—Little, Brown ($5.00).

With the publication of this wistfully titled collection of literary and political essays, Gore Vidal must be acknowledged the nation's foremost boy of letters. The office is an honorable one, having been held previously by Truman Capote, Scott

Fitzgerald and Stephen Crane—although it is true that both Crane and Fitzgerald relinquished the honor in their mid-twenties and went on to man's literary estate, while Vidal, at the moment of his elevation, is 36. The new boy earned his rank by writing, before he was 30, eight...

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