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TOY WARS: THE EPIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN G.I. JOE, BARBIE, AND THE COMPANIES THAT MAKE THEM

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TOY WARS: THE EPIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN G.I. JOE, BARBIE, AND THE COMPANIES THAT MAKE THEM G. Wayne Miller (Times Books, $25) The subtitle of this would-be corporate thriller is a bit misleading, since it’s less a study in behind-the-scenes backstabbing than a painstaking and often reverent history of Hasbro and its ultimate loss of the No. 1 slot to Mattel. Miller, a staff writer at the Providence Journal-Bulletin, spent five years shadowing Stephen and Alan Hassenfeld, the brothers who oversee everything from Mr. Potato Head to Scrabble, but suits at Mattel, the makers of Barbie, sat only for limited interviews. It’s not surprising, then, that Wars has a good-against-evil tone with Barbie as the aggressor and G.I. Joe as the beleaguered underdog. Still, glimpses into the cutthroat world that pits My Little Pony against the Lion King make for an engaging read. B