April 03, 1978 12:00 PM

by Peter L. Skolnik

The subtitle is America’s Crazes, Fevers and Fancies from the 1890s to the 1970s. Skolnik offers a superficial glance at such gimmicks and games as Hula-Hoops, Frisbees, Scrabble, Monopoly, goldfish swallowing, the bunny hug, panty raids, Ouija boards, bubble gum, Mah-Jongg, streaking and Joseph McCarthy. Joseph McCarthy? Anyway, many of the photographs are fine, but poor design and bad printing make the volume look like a high school yearbook. The tome’s conclusion: “Today, health lies in jump rope and racquet games, and happiness is hawked by Werner Erhard and the est vanguard, by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his ‘Moonies.’ The Me decade moves on under a ‘born again’ President. All will recede into history, Jimmy Carter’s term limited by the laws of the land, the others by the laws of faddism.” (Crowell, $9.95)

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