Books: Numero Uno

THE BOOK OF FIRSTS

by PATRICK ROBERTSON 256 pages. Clarkson Potter. $10.

There are some books whose reviews should run upside down. They are the volumes which mainly add up to a series of short answers—tomes like the Guinness Book of World Records or the Baseball Encyclopedia. Seven hundred twenty-three home runs; 895 miles below sea level—these are the replies such works elicit from the reader. The rest is merely a salaam to accuracy and arcana. Joining the shelf of unique reference books is another first: the first Book of Firsts by Patrick Robertson. A British civil servant, indefatigable researcher and humorist...

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