Books: And Quiet Flows the Pecos

VANDENBERG by Oliver Lange. 333 pages. Stein & Day. $6.95.

At its best, pop literature provides a set of tracks along which the reader's fantasies can chug-chug-chug and toot-toot-toot. Len Deighton or Harold Robbins or Erich Segal paints up a few props as passive scenery—model villages with lifelike residents, a plaster panther forever in the act of springing—and the reader's imagination makes it all real. Oliver Lange, for example, posits a brief, one-sided and almost painless Russo-American war—Washington is taken, and that's about it. Afterwards, the Soviets occupy the U.S.

And then? Well, it...

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