NONFICTION

Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent, by Wilson Jeremiah Moses (Oxford University Press, $39.95). Though little remembered today, Alexander Crummell, the subject of this study of his life and thought, was one of the foremost black intellectuals of his time. Born in 1819 in New York, Crummell was the son of a free-born woman and a slave who, according to family history, one day simply told his master he refused to continue in servitude. Denied admission to Yale and to the Episcopal Seminary, Crummell nonetheless was ordained a priest and went on to earn a degree from Cambridge. In this analytical biography, Wilson Jeremiah Moses focuses on Crummell's belief in Christianity, civilization, authority and the glorious future for which blacks were destined, as well as his influence on the young W.E.B. Du Bois.

The Boys Who Would Be Cubs: A Year in the Heart of Baseball's Minor Leagues, by Joseph Bosco (Morrow, $21.95). There are, at any given moment, more than 600 men on the rosters of the major-league baseball teams. The rest of the players in professional baseball are in the minors, hoping to work their ways up to a shot with a big-league team, or reconciling themselves to the fact that they will not. Why do some make it, while most fail? This is Joseph Bosco's attempt to answer that question, a book written after a year's stint with a minor league team, the Peoria Cubs, at home and on the road.

Italian and Irish Filmmakers in America: Ford, Capra, Coppola, and Scorsese, by Lee Lourdeaux (Temple University Press, $29.95). Lee Lourdeaux's thesis is that the work of filmmakers D.W. Griffith, John Ford, Frank Capra, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese can be used to trace "the gradual uphill path of two ethnic cultures {Italian and Irish} in American film." In Griffith, Lourdeaux sees first the exploitation of negative Irish and Italian stereotypes, and later an attempt to create more positive images. Ford was Irish-American, and his films explore the tensions in a hyphenated identity. Capra, Coppola and Scorsese, all of Italian descent, deal with Italian family values. But while Capra takes those values seriously, Coppola and Scorsese are critical of Catholicism and the American success ethic.

The Moral Philosophy of G.E. Moore, by Robert Peter Sylvester (Temple University Press, $44.95). The English philosopher G.E. Moore grounded the Bloomsbury Group's estheticism in theory, an ethics reinforcing the predispositions of Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf and their colleagues to cultivate themselves, flout Puritan convention and place friendship at the apex of human value. Although it was largely Moore's charisma that swayed his followers, he articulated his analytic approach to morals in essays and books, notably the still-readable Principia Ethica. This posthumous study attempts to rescue his scholarly reputation from the low repute into which it has fallen since his death in 1958.

How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime, by Roger Corman with Jim Jerome (Random House, $18.95). Independent producer-director Roger Corman rejuvenated Vincent Price's and Peter Lorre's careers when mainstream Hollywood had written them off, made possible Jack Nicholson's long apprenticeship as an actor, trained such directors as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, and, well, accomplished the feat trumpeted by the title of this memoir. There are those who might add a phrase to that mouthful -- something like "Though None of My Work Has Lasting Value" -- but Corman's energy, resilience, and ability to achieve persuasive cinematic effects on minuscule budgets in campy horror and science fiction flics are all impressive.

Working in Hollywood, by Alexandra Brouwer and Thomas Lee Wright (Crown, $24.95). In the vein of Studs Terkel's Working, this is a book about the services performed by the technicians whose titles appear on the "crawl" that unrolls at the end of a film -- exotic-sounding people like the gaffer and key grip and best boy. The husband-and-wife authors are cinematic toilers themselves, each having worked at Paramount Pictures. One reads the first-person accounts they've collected with a heightened awareness of the evanescence of the filmed moment. As a negative cutter puts it, "One error is an error too many . . . If a camera negative is torn, scratched, or destroyed, there's no way, unless that section is reshot, to get it back."