By People Staff
June 25, 1979 12:00 PM

by Shana Alexander

“Long before [her] trial…I became a captive of Patty Hearst,” Alexander begins. More than 500 pages later, Alexander has exorcised the heiress and ends with the sad, dismissing words: “Good-bye, Patty, and God bless.” What lies between is evocative, splendidly written and personally revealing, both of the convicted bank robber and of the author. It would be comforting to be told by journalist-TV commentator Alexander precisely who Patty was: rich girl turned seething radical or a captive who shot up a sporting goods store out of fear for her life. The book offers no such judgment: With often stunning prose and perception it portrays Hearst as the pawn in a titanic battle between lawyers and psychiatrists. Alexander is convinced Patty need never have come to trial, that her parents should have instructed lawyer F. Lee Bailey to plea bargain for probation. At least until Patty Hearst writes her own version, this is the best account of that bizarre event we’re likely to get. (Viking, $14.95)