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March 05, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE BEST OF FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT edited by Tony Grant (I.B. Taurus: $15.95; 242 pp., paperback original). These first-hand reports from the BBC World Service offer models of clear, concise reportage. The correspondents enhance their stories with personal observations, but never stoop to gonzo shenanigans. A heartbroken secretary summarizes the tragedy of Central Africa when she cries, "Rwanda isn't a country anymore, there's nothing to do but run away as far as possible and never come back." An occasional infusion of humor prevents the accounts of world crises from becoming too grim. In a discussion of the growth of the federal bureaucracy in America, Gavin Esler notes: " . . . In 1935 the Agriculture Department had 20,000 employees to handle 6 million farms. Now the number of farms has tripled, but the number of farmers has dropped to a third. At this rate, the one American farmer left in a hundred years' time should have 20 million Department of Agriculture employees processing his request for a subsidy for his honeybees."

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