Reporting: The Heart of Hate

Novelist and Journalist John Hersey has dealt with lofty subjects: death by holocaust (Hiroshima), extremes of heroism (The Wall), a man against the sea (Under the Eye of the Storm). So, at first glance, a sordid shooting in a seedy motel during last summer's Detroit riots hardly seems potential material for him. Yet out of these unpromising ingredients, Hersey has fashioned a book, The Algiers Motel Incident (Knopf; $5.95) that measures up to his better work. "This episode," he writes, "contained all the mythic themes of racial strife in the U.S.: the...

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