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For every taste and budget, a paperback

A Life in Our Times, by John Kenneth Galbraith. New York: Ballantine Books. 563 pp. $8.95.

For the past 40 years, Galbraith has lived three or four simultaneous lives, and this book successfully describes them. The lengthy account is full of surprises. For instance, most of Galbraith's formal education centered on agriculture and farm economics. His loftier-sounding honorary degrees obscure this fact.

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Despite the length, the distinctive Galbraith fluency holds the reader's attention. One learns of his Ontario youth; his Berkeley education and move east; his efforts to prevent inflation during World War II while still in his early 30s; his speech writing for Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy; his ambassadorship to India; and his teaching at Harvard and other institutions while at the same time he was turning out 20 books and numerous articles.

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