December 03, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A

In My Place Charlayne Hunter-Gault (Vintage, $11, first published in 1992) This generous memoir by one of the first two black students admitted to the University of Georgia in 1961 chronicles the early years of an extraordinary life. Now the national correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, Hunter- Gault occupies an important place in a world very different from the one she helped dismantle. A

JFK: Reckless Youth Nigel Hamilton (Random House, $15, 1992) If the first volume of Hamilton’s vast, readable, and amazingly bitchy biography makes clear no other side of JFK’s complex character, the future president’s scathing wit and utter disdain for appearances emerge as his most likable traits. Hamilton’s trenchant style and love of gossipy details bring the young JFK to life-culminating with his 1946 election to Congress -as no other author has. A-

Clockers Richard Price (Avon, $5.99, 1992) A gritty, darkly funny novel about the New Jersey drug trade. A skilled novelist who has spent the past decade writing screenplays (The Color of Money, Sea of Love), Price clearly knows his stuff. Clockers resonates with authenticity and pitch-perfect dialogue throughout. B+

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