The number one nonfiction bestseller of 1987, at least in the Washington area, was "The Closing of the American Mind," by Allan Bloom, a pessimistic view of the current quality of liberal arts education. In contrast, the most popular book in 1888 offered an optimistic view of America's future in the year 2000. Besides the enhancement of culture, the book predicted an enormous improvement in the level of intelligence among its citizenry. A "Great Trust" would eliminate economic chaos, eradicate slums; crime and warfare would disappear. The author foresaw radio, the peace corps, even the popularization of the international credit card. Name the book and its author.

All entries (one per person) must be clearly written on postcards and mailed to: Book Bag, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071, and must include complete return address and competition number. The winning entry will be the first correct answer drawn at random. Employes of The Washington Post Company and their families are not eligible to enter. Entries must be received no later than January 7. The winner's name and city of residence will be announced in the January 17 issue. A Washington Post Book World book bag will be sent to the winner. Answer to Christmas Book Bag #448: The solution to the double acrostic was taken from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol": "secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue . . ." Winners: Helen B. Lang, Fairfax Station, Va.; Ken Phifer, Rockville, Md.; Norman D. Reynolds, Bridgeville, Del.; Frances Rhoads, Washington, D.C.; Jerome Shipman, Potomac, Md.; John W. Wrench Jr., Frederick, Md.