Books: Also Current: Jan. 5, 1962

THE RIGHT LINE OF CERDIC, by Alfred Duggan (302 pp.; Pantheon; $3.95). Alfred the Great, the strategist who let the peasant woman's cakes burn, is the latest hero to receive the full Duggan treatment. Historical Novelist Duggan pays his respects to legend, but he is more concerned with the larger issues behind King Alfred's precarious defense of 9th century Wessex against the pagan Danes. Alfred never crushed them. But he repeatedly checked and harried them until more and more Danes turned from unprofitable raiding to settle on the land, and from their war gods to the gentle Christ. Alfred's message,...

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