Books: Sullivan's Travels

MUCH ADO ABOUT ME (380 pp.)—Fred Allen—Atlantic-Little, Brown ($5).

If the people in Poland are called Poles, why aren't the people in Holland called Holes?

This was the first joke ever told by Fred Allen, in a grammar-school revue. Over the next 50 years, a lot of his humor did not rise much above this level, but his nasally astringent tones and the cold poached eyes with which he regarded life were to be widely hailed as the attributes of a pungent social satirist. He was both more and less than that; in his best years,...

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