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17

T H U R S D A Y

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Cursed by used-car dealers, Michael Milken, and the Home Shopping Network, contemporary America represents the zenith (or perhaps nadir) of the sale, contends Earl Shorris in A Nation of Salesmen: The Tyranny of the Market and the Subversion of Culture. But shysters perfected the art of the deal long before Donald Trump: Salesmen have been seducing us ever since the serpent persuaded Eve that she would just love the taste of that apple. From snakes to snake oil, Shorris traces the evolution of homo vendens at noon at the National Archives, Rm. 105, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 501-5402. (David Plotz)