THE PUSHCART WAR
by Jean Merrill
 
(Young Scott, Addison Wesley, 1964)

Reviewed by Sue Feder

This instant classic story of New York City pushcart vendors vs. the trucking industry has been described as everything from merely funny to brilliant urban satire. It takes on everything from corporate America to corrupt government officials to the death of the Lower East Side culture to an amazingly contemporary and timely terrorist campaign and reactions thereto:

the truck drivers did not feel save anywhere. ...Although only a small number of the children...were involved in the shooting, it was almost impossible to judge from appearance alone which children might have pea shooters concealed in their jackets. One driver's suspicions got so out of hand that he had his own children searched for pea shooters every night before dinner.

Even echoes of the Holocaust can be heard as the ever-bigger and more powerful trucks take over the streets -- except in this version the persecuted fight back, and win.