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October 16, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

A DARKER SHADE OF CRIMSON: The Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano by Ruben Navarrette Jr. (Bantam: $11.95; 270 pp.). Navarrette found himself adrift, socially, culturally and intellectually, when he came to Harvard from a small high school in the Central Valley. He initially tried to pose as a man of the people, a spokesman for dark-skinned laborers, but realized he lacked the credentials. A light-complected, middle-class scholar who didn't even speak Spanish well, he had more in common with his Anglo-Saxon classmates. Navarrette's well-crafted coming-of-age story reveals how his ethnic awareness enabled him to develop a more generous vision of humanity.

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