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The Government Printing Office is the most important and by far the most exasperating publishing house in the United States. Its lists are full of items indispensable to the study of social life. Nowadays, its books and pamphlets are well printed and well made. But the problem of tracing or keeping up with government publications has become almost unmanageable, what with totally inadequate catalogues and indices, and the Office's amiable refusal to answer its mail. To follow government publications in any one field requires at a minimum a full-time secretary, an expert research assistant, a genius in cataloguing, and an experienced Washington lobbyist. Such facilities are unhappily beyond the reach of most academicians and of most libraries.
If the Government Printing Office were even tolerably effective in marketing its product, Dr. Lynch's book could have been half its present size, and presumably half its present prohibitive price. For in large part it is a descriptive guide to what happened in the course of the TNEC investigation between 1938 and 1941. That extremely important and symptomatic inquest into American economic life is reported in eighty-one volumes, issued with the austere stamp of the G.P.O., and generally out of print. Dr. Lynch's study deals exclusively with the thirty-seven volumes of Hearings, and the Committee's Report, leaving the forty-three valuable monographs either to speak for themselves, or to wait another descriptive index.
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