The influential formative years of a Southern childhood and adolescence in a segregated society provide the background for contrasting books which aim at understanding this experience. In Separate Pasts , McLaurin relates his adolescent years in rural North Carolina during the 1950s. His account reflects his growing awareness of race and racism. His frankness and honest reflection about his adolescence reveal a great deal about Southern society. And as a historian he provides the reader with a harsh appraisal of a segregated South. From a different perspective comes A World Unsuspected , 11 original essays by some of the region's promising writers, e.g., Barry Hannah, Al Young, and Bobbie Ann Mason. Each author used family photographs to prompt narratives representing their varied pasts. The 11 include blacks and whites and men and women. The childlike reminiscences of several of the writers offer a marked contrast to McLaurin's recollection. While both volumes are recommended for larger academic and public libraries, McLaurin's has considerable candor. Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Ala.