Books: Taken for Granite

THE BOOK OF NUMBERS by Robert Deane Pharr. 374 pages. Doubleday. $5.95.

"The day a Negro successfully robs a bank instead of a chicken coop we can honestly claim to be emancipated." The speaker is a character in this flawed but forceful first novel. The scene is a Southern city in the 1930s. For the Negroes who dwell there in remorseless squalor, a measure of freedom and manhood can be earned only by breaking the white man's law. For a bright, ambitious Negro, the best way to prosperity is not through business or the professions but in the illicit...

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