Books: Great Leap Backward


by WILLIAM MANCHESTER 1,397 pages. Little, Brown. $20.

In 1932 William Manchester, the son of a Massachusetts social worker, was ten years old. Boys five years older than he were earning $2.78 a week in the sweatshops of Brooklyn, as Manchester might already have learned. (Even at ten he was a compulsive newspaper reader.) But then prime rib roast cost only 21¢ per lb., and young Manchester could buy a ticket to see Jackie Cooper in the "talkie" When a Feller Needs a Friend for 10¢. The real trouble was...

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