Books: Exotic Voyager



507 pages. Simon & Schuster. $9.95.

By the age of four, John House man (then Jacques Haussmann) had spent two birthdays on the Simplon-Orient Express. It is an image with which to connect the 70 years that have gone into this urbane, fascinating and graceful memoir. Houseman was and is a restless, slightly exotic voy ager through life and drama.

Born of a Jewish Alsatian father and a British mother of Welsh-Irish descent, he spoke four languages at five.

At 25 he was a transplanted American versed in the babel of the Chicago commodity exchange, a merchant prince in wheat....

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