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August 04, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE ANGRY ONES by John A. Williams (Norton: $11, 175 pp.). Originally published in 1960, Williams' novel depicts the disillusioning experiences of Steve Hill, a well-educated black veteran. Despite the initial success of the civil rights movement, he learns how far away the dream of equality remains. Although discrimination is illegal, Hill must struggle to find a job and decent housing in New York, while coping with well-meaning but maladroit whites.

He reflects, "We had been a generation like the Jazz Age and, like it, we had been overwhelmed by the dead weight of national inertia."

"The Angry Ones" marks the debut of Norton's "Old School Books" series, a collection of novels from the '50s, '60s and '70s by African American writers. "Corner Boy" by Herbert Simmons, "Portrait of a Young Man Drowning" by Charles Perry and "The Scene" by Clarence Cooper Jr. are also being reissued.

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