For every taste and budget, a paperback

Jane Fonda: Heroine for Our Time, by Thomas Kiernan. New York: Delilah Books. 320 pp. $8.95.

Kiernan knows how to sum up the mood of an era, and this biography, despite its title, steers clear of sentimentality. The deft portrait of the '60s that emerges shows how the idealism and search for meaning which sparked the antiwar and drug movements were corrupted by self-righteousness, stridency, and a lack of perspective.

The many-sided, controversial Jane Fonda springs to life, as Kiernan shows us how her thinking evolved. While she is not always admirable -- and Kiernan does not exonerate her from the results of her actions -- her courage, warmth, and resilience shine through. As portrayed in this book, she is simply too large for stereotypes.

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