Anyone who has ever listened to some of the shameful squabbling which goes on at the bridge table will not be surprised to learn that there was a good deal of controversy over the ""general circumstances of the accouchement"" of Contract Bridge, now generally conceded to Vanderbilt. However, most of this ""history"" deals with the quarter century in which Ely Culberton, and his Josephine, dominated the game and it's quite a sideshow, lots of flummery and charlatanry and rude rowing. Mackey, a little like Lardner before him who recorded the early classics (""You could write your testimonial in cigar smoke""), double-dummies some of the old contests and hands in a spirited manner; a few lesser personalities- Lenz, Jacoby, Sims, etc.; other features- Duplicate, women in bridge (is that so!), playing cards, systemania, etc., etc. The N. Y. Times claimed last week that there are 47 million players in the U.S. Some of them must read. They'll enjoy it.