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CRITICS' CHOICE

March 27, 1988

A FRIEND FROM ENGLAND by Anita Brookner (Pantheon Books: $15.95; 205 pp.) Neither a social comedy nor a novel of sensibility, "A Friend From England" is an allegorical debate between a false life of repression and a true life of risks and engagements.--Hermione Lee

BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson (Oxford University Press: $30; 904 pp.) Gracefully composed and suspensefully paid out, McPherson's book is the finest compression of that national paroxysm ever fitted between two covers.--Huston Horn

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