Books: A Rich Circularity

The public and personal sides of historian Arthur Schlesinger's life meet in his spirited autobiography

At the Exeter Academy in 1931, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. plays a board game called Camelot with a roommate whose mother is best friends from convent school with Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. In the 1970s, Schlesinger lives in a house on Manhattan's East 64th Street. He looks out his bedroom window one day and sees his neighbor Richard M. Nixon "prowling restlessly around his garden." In a little while a party begins at the Schlesinger house. A guest--invited by a friend of his wife's--comes to the door, a man whom Schlesinger has never met: Alger Hiss. They have a polite chat--even though Schlesinger...

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