Books: Celebrity and Its Discontents

TRANSATLANTIC BLUES by Wilfrid Sheed. Dutton; 312 pages; $9.95

Americans have been grouped and groped, had their consciousnesses raised and their drawers lowered until it would seem there are no secrets left. There is one: the slippery, quietly gnawing matter of class. For those who have gone a long way on a knack and raw nerve, there are always night thoughts of doubt: "Are my credentials adequate?" "Is my background acceptable?"

This is an old story in England, where society's lines, though wavering, are still anchored at both ends. Class-consciousness in the U.S. is...

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