Books: Their Finest Hours

TKE CITY THAT WOULD NOT DIE (280 pp.}—Richard Collier—Dutton ($4.50).

At 1:40 a.m. on May n, 1941, Police Constable Reginald Oakes was crawling in total darkness along a 12-ft. plank that linked two window ledges in London's bombed-out Alexandra Hotel. At one window, trapped in the ruin of their bedroom, were a shoe manufacturer named Davies, his wife and two panicky daughters. At the other, Constable John McKenning did his best to hold the plank steady; a concrete courtyard yawned 45 ft. below.

As Oakes inched toward the family, the gutted walls breathed ominous creaks, but that was only one of his worries;...

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