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February 09, 1986|DICK RORABACK

HAMMER DOWN: A TRUE STORY ABOUT TRUCKING by Otto Riemer (Apollo: $4.80, paperback). Otto Riemer is a long-haul trucker, by choice and by nature. His is a bulldog breed of tough, freewheeling loner; successors, in a sense, to the cowboy.

It is a life that Riemer lives. One wonders why.

His book, very possibly unintentionally, is a nonstop diatribe against the working conditions of the trucker and those responsible. Riemer takes a tire iron to pot-holed roads, low bridges, underpowered engines and unscrupulous mechanics. To exploitative owners, sadistic cops, slovenly waitresses. To long hours, short pay, speed limits and scabs. To hot weather, cold weather, mud slides, junk food. And while he's at it, to drugs, abortions, hedonists, pornography, architects and television programmers.

Trucking is "a hard life for hard men," he writes, a "dangerous, high-speed, little-sleep game." For $4.80, you can share his love.

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