Gourmet fare, this, for the reader whose memory dates back to the era of the greats in literature and art during the ebullient '20's and the declining '30's. Frank Crowninshield was the inspiration of Vanity Fair, unique of its kind, and brought to its pages imagination, taste, courage and wit. He had a sixth sense for recognizing talent- and his scope was immense, ranging from the early Thomas Wolfe, Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, Colette, Max Beerbohn, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elinor Wylie, to the established Alexander Woollcott, Maugham, D.H. Lawrence, Benchley. Here was the progress and promise of American life and society, ""cheerfully, truthfully and entertainingly"" presented. Here was evidence of change from Edwardian elegance to post war decadence, with increased devotion to pleasure and sport. The satirist is given his chance. And women are accepted as having a claim to intelligence beyond lines of domesticity. Here is a yardstick of American culture- in book and art and theatre. The avant garde of the day are represented- and today may seem tradition-bound; the young of forty years ago are the greybeards of today, but it is exciting to see how many ""firsts"" were introduced in these pages -- echoed today and claimed as discoveries. The selections from the magazine provide an extraordinary blend of text and pictures, so as one reads, sometimes skimming half-remembered pieces or discovering new delights, the eye is caught and held by superb photographs, portraits of stars of yesterday and today, literary figures, sports, figures on the international scene- and some now forgotten or unknown. But the captions are crisp, informative and entertaining.