Books: Up from Penury

SILAS SNOBDEN'S OFFICE BOY by HORATIO ALGER JR. 240 pages. Doubleday. $5.95.

Holy Horatio Alger! Of all the embarrassing national memories to bring up in 1973. This little prince of prissiness, this walking morality play on behalf of hanging tight and doing somebody else's thing. "Duty required me to do as I did." The cry, pure as the adolescent uttering it, sounds across the years—from 1889, to be exact—measuring by sheer alienation the distance of America present from America past.

Who is this young anachronism speaking for the Protestant ethic? Frank Manton happens to...

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