Picks and Pans Review: Christmas in America

updated 12/12/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/12/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Edited by David Cohen

Produced by the same outfit that has turned out A Day in the Life of America, A Day in the Life of the Soviet Union and a series of similar books, this weighty volume includes more than 175 pictures, most of them in color. They were culled from 150,000 or so shots taken from Thanksgiving, 1987, through Jan. 6, 1988, by 100 photographers. Since this is the holiday season, it would be ungenerous to point out that there is a kind of coastal bias in these pictures—none of them comes from Vermont, Mississippi, North Dakota or Idaho, among other non-media-center states. So too would it be unjolly to note that a considerable number of the photographs seem routine, such as the all-too-average dining room scene from Lynchburg, Tenn., the unrevealing portrait of Jerry Falwell and wife Macel in their Lynchburg, Va.—is there something boring about Lynchburgs?—home or an average, crowded terminal shot from O'Hare Airport in Chicago. More to the festive point, there are lots of evocative scenes, including a shot of a Washington State convict returning home on parole (taken by Peter Haley of the Tacoma Morning News Tribune), and some clever editing, such as juxtaposing a Hawaii beach Christmas with one in Alaska. There are lots of bright reds and greens, and plenty of happy children and smiling Santas of every description. As a tribute to mankind's love of ritual, if nothing else, this will serve until something better comes down the chimney. (Collins, $35)

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