Picks and Pans Review: America Then & Now

updated 01/11/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/11/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

Edited by David Cohen

Side by side they gaze at us solemnly, while on the opposite page their modern counterparts have been assembled in the exact same pose: nine members of the Pottstown, Pa., police force, 1898 and now. Mustaches are narrower and down to three in the present, while gleaming leather and visible armament are up, along with a more subtle and troubling sign of the times—black tape over the badge numbers.

While some things recorded here seem not to have changed (the confident faces of lumberjacks, the proud, vulnerable bearing of soldiers, the smiles of brides), striking contrasts are everywhere (tall-masted schooners in 1905, automated container ships today; the Ku Klux Klan parading down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington in 1928, a gay rights march there in 1987). Today's America looks less formal, more integrated in the workplace by race and gender. The book's strengths include fact-filled captions, a caution about equating change with progress and a sense of humor. (HarperCollins, $40)

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