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March 21, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE COURAGE OF TURTLES by Edward Hoagland (Lyons & Burford: $14.95; 239 pp.). Two decades after their initial publication, Edward Hoagland's personal essays have lost none of their invigorating freshness. Although he mentions several turtles he's known, he writes primarily about the need for a respite from the congestion and general madness of modern life: "Since we cannot react to others with unabashed fellow-feeling, we usually reduce the Golden Rule to a sort of silver rule, doing to them just about what we think they would do to us if they had the opportunity." Hoagland has an uncanny ability to make virtually any subject seem interesting, from coping with the problems of stuttering to training big cats in circuses. Lyons and Burford is reissuing "Courage" in conjunction with Hoagland's other volume of essays, "Walking the Dead Diamond River."

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