Books: A Choice of the Past

There are several good ways of mining the past in the writing business, and this year's authors have proved that all of them can be made to yield rich lore. The vogue of well-researched biography has rarely been more popular; new histories, letters and memoirs descend on U.S. book counters week after week. Occasionally, the researcher takes his camera with him and produces a pictorial report, as in the University of Chicago's handsome Persepolis (see pictures on following pages). But again and again, researchers market their researches as historical fiction. This fall, with...

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