One selection from each of the Atlantic's 119 years-plucked out, it would seem, to demonstrate that in its day the magazine has published a little of everything. The impression fails to do it justice, while the motley assortment of the established, the inconsequential, and the rare and special fails to serve the interests of any discernible reader. Beyond a brief introduction, editorial assistance is nil: authors are unidentified, however obscure, and so are the books into which many of the selections (and related writings) soon found their way. More regrettably still, nothing is made of the Atlantic's strengths: as the outlet for virtually every important New England writer in its early days; as sounding-board for educational issues (an aspect weakened also by omission of T. W. Higginson's 1859 espousal of co-education, of Charles W. Eliot's 1860 fanfare for the elective system); as a national institution--and forum for social protest--under the editorship of William Dean Howells. It was Howells who once cried, ""Ah! If I only could write something worthy of the Atlantic!"" This unfortunately isn't.