Books: The Dickens in Camp

AMERICAN SCRAPBOOK by Jerome Charyn. Ml pages. Viking. $4.95.

Not the least of the novelist's functions is to serve as a moral bookkeeper, making all those entries on the liability side of the ledger that a society might otherwise prefer to forget. In his new book, ruefully comic Novelist Jerome Charyn (Once Upon a Droshky) records the shape and the existence of a small, dreadful chapter in our recent national history.

The incident on which the novel is based occurred in 1942, when the fearful U.S. was so busy remembering the threats and wrongs of...

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