Picks and Pans Review: Hands Across America

UPDATED 09/22/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/22/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

The Official Record Book

As a news event, last May's linkup on behalf of the hungry and homeless was almost too big to cover. With an estimated 5.5 million participants stretching through 16 states and the District of Columbia, it was a 15-minute happening that could only be captured in glimpses. This 126-page reminiscence tries to broaden the view with the contributions of more than 40 photographers and free-lance reporters who were stationed along the 4, 124-mile route. The book gives a good sense of the logistical problems organizers faced as well as the amazing diversity of participants: nuns, bikers, Boy Scouts, Grateful Deadheads, even prison inmates. Despite the try for a big picture, however, the best scenes are still the small ones—an iron-lung patient on the line in Illinois, a New York welfare mother tape-recording crowd noise at Battery Park for her friends back at the shelter. For anyone among those who stood in line and clutched at strangers' mitts that day, this book should be a happy keepsake. For those the event was meant to help, it might be even more; all profits from the sale of the book will go into the $17 million fund for the hungry and homeless that Hands Across America has already raised. (Pocket, $7.95)

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