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Notable books of 1980 -- a checklist; BIOGRAPHY

DADDY KING: An Autobiography, by the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., with Clayton Riley. New York: William Morrow & Co. $10.95. This simple, engaging, and (there's no more fashionable word for it) inspiring book traces King's rise from humble origins to the ministry of the largest black congregation in Atlanta and the fight for civil rights many years before son Martin Jr. emerged as a leader. King's personal tragedies, accompanying the happiness of warm family bonds are kept in the perspective of a man whose faith in God cannot be shaken.

GIELGUD: An Actor and His Time, A Memoir, by John Gielgud in collaboration with John Miller and John Powell.New York: Clarkson N. Potter Inc. $14.95. This theatrical reminiscence (compiled from BBC interviews) fascinates, informs, and entertains as it retraces the forward moves, detours, and setbacks of a six-decade-long career.

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HELEN AND TEACHER: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy, by Joseph Lash. New York: Delacorte. $17.95. The masterful biographer who gave us "Eleanor and Franklin" here recounts the remarkable triumph over physical limitation and social indifference seen in the lives of deaf- mute Helen Keller and her indefatigable teacher and companion Anne Sullivan.

LYNDON: An Oral Biography, by Merle Miller. New York: Putnam. $17.95. This 560-page biography, related in the words of as many of those who knew LBJ as would talk into a tape recorder, comes over like its subject -- overwhelmingly -- leaving a reader dazed by repetition and contradiction, yet supremely fascinated by this enigmatic man.

PETER THE GREAT: His Life and Work, by Robert K. Massie. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $19.95. A man with a single, firm purpose -- to build a modern Russia -- is the picture of the late 17- early 18th- century czar that emerges from this comprehensive and engaging study.

ROBERT OPPENHEIMER: Letters and Recollections, edited by Alice Kimball Smith and Charles Weiner. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. $20. A fine collection of the private words and thoughts from the early life of the man who founded and ran the laboratory that built the first atomic bomb and whose loyalty was called into question during the McCarthy era.

TESTIMONY: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich as Related to and Edited by Simon Volkov, translated by Antonia W. Bouis. New York: Harper & Row. $15 hardcover; Harper/Colophon, $4.95 paperback. Denounced as a fraud by Shostakovich's widow and son, who still live in the USSR, yet considered authentic by many readers, these lean, incisive memoirs present a scathing indictment of the conditions under which artists struggle in the Soviet Union, yesterday and today.

TOWARDS THE MOUNTAIN, By Alan Paton. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. $15 .95. In this first half of a two-volume autobiography still in progress, Paton, who has never wavered in his gutsy Christianity or in his belief that racial arrogance must crumble in South Africa, focuses on his experience as chief of South Africa's largest reformmatory for African boys and the writing of "Cry, the Beloved Country."

WALTER LIPPMANN AND THE AMERICAN CENTURY, by Ronald Steel. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. $19.95. This superbly researched and beautifully written account of the 20th century's most influential political journalist, active from the time of Teddy Roosevelt to Vietnam, should be read by any- one wanting a clear sense of how America got to where it finds itself today.

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WALT WHITMAN: A LIFE, by Justin Kaplan. New York: Simon & Schuster. $15. A sensitive, full-blooded potrait that capture the exuberant spirit and extraordinary originality of the nation's first uniquely American poet, and of the s ocial milieu that both spawned and spurned him.

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