NONFICTION

QUIZ CRAZE, by Thomas DeLong (Praeger: $22.95; 320 pp.). Sorry. This is not the book that tells you the best way to cram for "Jeopardy." In fact, DeLong barely comments on the quiz-show renaissance of the past few years, as a tight economy made everything from the state lottery to "Wheel of Fortune" seem a worthwhile avocation. He is a cultural historian with a particular affinity for the early days of radio and television, and as a result, "Quiz Craze" is a look at the myriad ways in which people have tried to turn luck into a quick buck, since the beginning of electronic media. It's an interesting bit of nostalgia for baby boomers and their parents--and also provides a serious glimpse of the darker aspects of the game-show craze, the "misery" such as "Queen for a Day," that exploited people's real-life anguish to make that quest for the jackpot more melodramatic.

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