Books: Second Banana

HONOR THY FATHER by Gay Talese. 526 pages World. $10.

The man next to Bill Bonanno on the morning commuter flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles wanted to talk football. Why not? The day before, the Colts had defeated the Cowboys in the Super Bowl. At 38, Bill—tall, his excess pounds disguised by gray pin stripes—looked much like the sort of man who tunes out the wife and kids each Sunday during football season to lose his cares in patterns of precision violence.

But Bill Bonanno remained silent. He had on his mind what would probably amount to the first half of...

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