Books: Look It Up


by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky; Pantheon; 352 pages; $19.95

This book is irreverent, unfair and subversive. What more could anyone ask for? It begins with the 16th century geological musings of Martin Luther: "Longer ago than 6,000 years the world did not exist." It hurtles downhill from there toward outright insolence. Did Abraham Lincoln really say in 1859, "Negro equality! Fudge! How long . . . shall there continue knaves to vend, and fools to quip, so low a piece of demagogism as this"? Did the U.S. Labor Department truly...

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