Books: From the Lower Depths

THE CHILDREN OF SÁNCHEZ (499 pp.)— Oscar Lewis—Random House ($7.50).

This extraordinary book was written by a social scientist with a tape recorder, a combination not usually promising literary excitement. But it is not only a fascinating documentary but a work of art created by reality itself, an edited record of fact that comes closer than most contemporary fiction to the force of literature.

The Children of Sánchez is the story of a family of live slum dwellers in modern Mexico City. Oscar Lewis, a University of Illinois anthropologist who has devoted most of his...

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