ven as a check-list with annotations, this grab-bagging of the American short story over the last two decades is wanting. For example: people like Hubert Selby, Anatole Broyard or Robert Creeley, among others, aren't mentioned; people like Tillie Olsen, George Elliott or Delmore Schwartz, among others, are merely noted; while an Edward Newhouse, a Sylvia Berkman get some lines of commentary. Certainly they're not better than the others, (actually they're inferior). True, Mr. Peden can have his preferences, but no attempt is made to define the in and out ruling. The writers divide into slots: the suburban set, the ""sick"" set, the WWII group, the racial, the regional, etc. In the end it doesn't make a bit of difference. Mr. Peden's critical judgments are not judgments at all, simply snippets having to do with themes, styles, schools with brilliant resumes: ""(Peter) Taylor's fiction is meaningful because his characters are meaningful,"" or outright blurbs; Irwin Shaw (of all people!) ""has created...the most crowded gallery of vivid and diverse characters in recent short fiction."" (How hort?) All considerations wander the cliched symbolic landscape: the non-hero on his earch for the self, his loss of self, his acceptance of self, or social violence, exual aberrations, town/city polarities, loneliness, unknowableness, compromised deals, and so forth.... Some of this material appeared in one form or another in The Saturday Review of the Times Book Review. It seems perishable.