Books: Conformity's Crises

MAINSIDE (373 pp.)—Paul Mandel— Random House ($4.95).

THE PANAMA PORTRAIT (242 pp.)— Stanley Ellin—Random House ($3.95).

As a pejorative addition to the national vocabulary, "the organization man" is hardly more than a human ballbearing who aspires to become a big wheel. But as prop for U.S. fiction writers, he has become distressingly ubiquitous—mostly in the role of a puppet for potboilermakers, only rarely as the subtly realized, peculiarly American character he should be.

Two new books, Paul Mandel's Main-side, a skilled first novel set at a Florida naval air station, and Stanley Ellin's The Panama...

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