Books: American Pie


by Jonathan Coleman

Atheneum; 401 pages; $18.95

The strength and weakness of this striking work is that it reads like a crime novel. But its protagonist, Jay Carsey, at age 47 really was president of Charles County Community College in Maryland. And on May 19, 1982, days before commencement, he really did withdraw $28,000 from the bank, drive to the airport, mail several letters, down some vodkas and board a flight. One of the letters was a brief note of resignation. One was a short statement to his wife that he was leaving because he was a "physical...

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