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July 14, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

MEMOIR OF THE BOOKIE'S SON by Sidney Offit (St. Martin's Griffin: $10.95, 165 pp.). The noted author and editor attempts to reconcile the image of the father he loved with his role as the biggest bookmaker in Baltimore (and possibly the United States). For much of his life, Offit regarded his father as "noble, with an indigenous American quality of self-reliance, a man who lived by his own code." But that admiration foundered when he saw his father's willingness to exploit corrupt officials. He offers an affecting memoir of a loving family that was emotionally satisfying, yet intellectually frustrating.

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