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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, October 15, 1939, Image 86

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Durant Re-Creates Story of Greece Marked by Rare Qualities of People -
Youth of World Shown
As Period of Brilliance
Ancient History Becomes
Poem of Perfect Form
In Arid Prose of Years
By Mary-Carter Roberts.
The Life of Greece
, By Will Durant. New York: Simon & Schuster.
With this volume Dr. Durant’s history of civilization, in the prevail
ing idiom, marches on. It was four years ago, if the reviewer remember*
correctly, that he brought out his volume on the Orient. The period,
apparently, has been filled with an immense labor of research.
The history which results is not a particularly profound one, nor is
it marked by any special attitude. That is to say. Dr. Durant has not at
tempted to give any “new interpretation" to his subject, either by reason
ing or by point of view. He has told, instead, pretty much the story that
every one knows, the story of the rise of a brilliant, proud, eager, curious
people, their dispersion and their disappearance. But, in telling this
familiar tale, he has used an exceptionally broad method, and into his
volume he has gathered more general information as to the contributing
elements of Greek culture than one can find in any other recent accottht.
His concern apparently has been to present to his readers the life of
the successive periods of Greek history in a living picture, comprehensive
and animated. And he has succeeded in doing so. His book, though
factual in material and journalistic in style, is consistently vivid. It shows
us that distant civilization fairly bubbling and pushing with life. It con
cerns itself not only with the temples and citadels; it brings us the homes,
the streets, the factories, the clubs and market places as well. It brings
Us some of the grit that was Greece as well as the glory; yet the glory
shines the more dazzingly for this broader view of it.
The method has been to devote a section of the book to each of the
successive periods of Greek history, from the Cretan ascendency to the
coming of the Roman conquerors, and, within each section, to give study
to all the significant aspects of the culture under examination—as the
government, the arts, the moral standards, the conditions of labor, the
conditions of commerce, education, standards of living, manners and so on.
This plan is carried out with great detail. Within the frame of each sec
tion there are shown the great men and women of the time, their careers,
characters and accomplishments. And back of them is the picture of the
whole world in which they lived, its customs and expectations. What re
sults is not so much in effect an unrolling scroll of history as a series of
separate canvases, each so lively, so realistic that it has a downright per
sonal quality.
His Method Is
Orthodox One.
The method has been used before, of course. It is indeed the ortho
dox one for history writing today. But we do not often find it carried
out with such closeness to its subject, such an agreeable absence of general
terms, such intimate detail. Take, for example, the passage in which Dr.
Durant describes the presentation of the classic drama; the reviewer for
her own part found this bit particularly delightful because, when she had
finished her undergraduate course in “Greek Culture,” her chief problem,
she remembers, was to try to imagine how any plain human feeing could
regularly summon up that profound reverence which, according to her
professors, was the requisite Greek state of mind for attendance at the
play. She decided privately that there must have been no plain human
beings in all Hellas. Such is the scholastic tradition often used in ap
proaching Greek history today. But Dr. Durant gives a much more
cheerful picture.
“The audience,” he says, "is as interesting as the play. Men and
women of all ranks are admitted. . . . Women sit apart from men and
courtesans have a place to themselves; custom keeps all but the looser
ladies away from comedy. It is a lively audience not less or more man
nerly than such assemblages in other lands. It eats nuts and fruit and
drinks wine as it listens; Aristotle proposes to measure the failure of a
play by the amount of food eaten during the presentation. It quarrels
about seats, claps and shouts for its favorites, hisses and groans when it
is displeased; when moved to more vigorous protest it kicks the benches
beneath it; if it becomes angry it may frighten an actor off the stage with
olives, figs or stones. . A musician who has borrowed a supply of stones
to build a house promises to repay it with those he expects to collect from
his next performance. Actors sometimes hire a claque to drown out
with applause the hisses they fear, and comic actors may throw nuts to
the crowd as a bribe to peace. If it wishes, the audience can by deliberate
noise prevent a drama from continuing and compel the performance of
the next play. . . And so on. Reverence, indeed.
In this healthy spirit Dr. Durant carries out his whole examination
of that people which today we are apt to approach with Byronic senti
mentality or overwhelming awe. And the Greeks survive his irreverence
very well. Theirs was the youth of the world. Knowing nothing of the
universe beyond their own narrow waters, they had the limited horizon
which pertains to youth; they also had the self-confidence, the passion,
the curiosity, the courage and the beauty. They lived wastefully, not
knowing their luck, spending in a few hundred years a fire which still
lightens the memory of the human kind.
This is the picture which Dr. Durant gives of them—not a nation of
youth, but a youth which was a nation. Greece was a poem in the ever
more-arid prose of Europe's history, but it was not, as we are apt to
dream, a poem of perfect design. There was much violence in it, much
willfulness, much unreason. Yet the beat of poetry was there consist
ently, thrilling and high. That a book written in an essentially prose
mood only confirms and repeats this pulse, is proof again that there were
wonders in man's history somewhat in advance of the invention of the
Diesel engine or the rapid-fire machine gun.
Egyptian inreriuae
By Jolan Foldes. Translated from the Hungarian by Alexander
Kenedi and Irwin Shapiro. New York: Farrar & Rhinehart.
The impression which the reviewer had from this new novel by the
author of the prize-winning and best-selling “The Street of the Fishing
Cat" was that Miss Foldes had heard somewhere of Frau Vicki Baum
and, having for her own part tasted the famous prodigality of Amer
ican royalties, was determined in a spirit of national pride that Hungary
should not lag behind Germany in gathering the Yankee dollars in.
Anyway, we have here a novel which seems to have been conceived
lawfully, but brought forth in shame. Or, to amend the biological figure,
Miss Foldes has had an idea right enough, but has embroidered it with
all the sensation-making devices of the market. It is to her credit that
she does such literary fancy-work very badly; in praise of her, one can
say that, even with her pantingly earnest efforts, she is not as vulgar
as Frau Vicki. But this does not help her book. Better a frank article
of literary commerce than a good book merely trying to go wrong.
As said, there is an idea in the work. But it is really no more than
the idea already set forth in “The Street of the Fishing Cat,” where
we had the story of a family of Hungarian expatriates trying to get
along in Paris and finding that the way of the denationalized is a hard
one. Here again Miss Foldes shows us a Hungarian in a foreign land.
Here again she makes her plot deal with the difficulties which beset
this Hungarian because of her expatriate status. And, even as before,
she concludes in melancholy unreason that no one who has left the land
of his birth can ever attain genuine social solidity again. But this time
she has pitched her theme in terms of the personal emotions of her
heroine, rather than on the strictly nationalistic grounds of her pre
ceding novel.
Not political.
Heronie Is
Her heroine, then, is not an exile for political reasons. She leaves
her native land voluntarily when her marriage to a congenitally unfaithful
young baron comes to grief. She is determined to be independent; she
gets a job in Alexandria and goes there to earn her living. In that city
she mingles with the somewhat limited white colony, some of the members
of which are there, like herself, to work, while others are genuine exiles.
The young woman moons about among these men and women, trying to
draw conclusions about expatriation from their lives. She thinks of
herself as one of the outcasts; she does this because of the purely personal
failure of her emotional life. She decides at last, very profoundly, that
outcasts can never get back. Then, with perfect unreason. Miss Foldes
has her husband summon her once again to his side and she rushes
joyfully home. In the meantime she has had a love affair which is
represented as containing all the tenderness and faith which were lacking
In her marriage, but this the young woman continently abandons.
It is, as must be plain, a muddled plot in which the exile theme
seems to have very little real place. The only way to tell the young
woman’s story would, on the story’s merits, have been as a straight exam
ple of feminine folly. To try to give it weighty implications is to mix lead
and thistledown. But that is what Miss Foldes has done. Maybe she
has not heard of Frau Baum only. Maybe she has been reading our
own Dorothy Thompson, too.
In addition, the thing is written with amazing sloppiness. It is full
of vague maundering meditations on the nature of love and, again, the
nature of love; it is full of episodes concerning characters who have no
relation to any of the rest of it; it is at times grossly ungrammatical—
though one must blame the translates and publishers for that. Yet,
there is a vitality in it. The central character is alive. She is a fool,
but she lives. And she is not so much a fool, either, but that she
deserves a better book to live in.
Journey Proud
By Thomasine McGehee. New
York: MacMillan & Co.
This is another Civil War novel.
The story—how a proud Southern
family met the war and was en
gulfed—is essentially romantic and
melodramatic, but Mrs. McGehee is
satisfied to write in a vein of under
statement. She writes as though
she is aware that the story has
been told many times. The Impor
tant thing is that she has some
thing new to contribute to it.
It Is the story of a large family—
too large, in fact, for the reader's
comfort. The Mackays love the
land and their plantation way of
life was the good way for them.
They were substantial, upper mid
dle-class people, who worked hard
and feared God. They were less
moved by political upheavals than
the hot-heads one ordinarily en
counters in novels of this era in the
South. They lived their lives and
expected to be let alone. But they
were not. First the war, then the
reconstruction. They lived as sur
vivors in another world.
How they fared in the new world
is the latter and most moving part
of “Journey Proud.” They were de
feated, of course, but there is hardly
a more appealing picture than that
of pride surmounting defeat.
Mrs. McGehee writes well, with
restraint and quiet eonviction.
X. T.
Author of “The Life of Greece." Volume two in “The Story of
Civilization." (Simon & Schuster.)
Author of "Watch for the
Dawn” (Houghton-Mi ffl in.)
Watch for the Dawn
By Stuart Cloete. Boston:
Houghton, Mifflin Co.
This novel, for some weeks now
on the best-seller lists, is Mr. Cloete’s
second book. His first one was “The
Turning Wheels,” a Actionized ac
count of the great trek of the Boers
into the Transvaal of South Af
rica. It was an arresting thing, done
with a somewhat heavy hand but
undeniably talented. Reading it
one thought that a second book
would reveal whether its author
really had something to say or
whether he was just a clever copy
ist. The second book being now
here, it can be said without hesi
tation that Mr. Cloete is a first-rate
story teller.
“Watch for the Dawn" is, like its
predecessor, a tale of South Africa
in the last century, a tale of the
border w'here the white settlements
scattered out into farms, and the
hardy Dutchmen who owned these
farms lived in constant apprehen
sion of raids from the natives. It
is a scene of plentiful picturesque
ness, and the skill with which Mr.
Cloete makes it come to life is ad
mirable. One has no sense of read
ing a historical novel as one goes
through it. The telling is so vivid
that one seems to live in the very
midst of the colorful, violent action.
The story is of the adventures
of a young Dutch trader, a man
of good family and gentle breed
ing who, through the accident of
being in a certain place at a cer
tain moment, finds himself an out
law with a price on his head. By
befriending an old farmer in diffi
culties with the law the young trader
brings the full wrath of the law
upon himself. He takes refuge with
a band of similarly outlawed men
and subsequently with a native tribe.
Prom then on the story is pretty
much one of a running fight. But
the scenes are of such force and
clarity and of such exotic pictur
esqueness that a reader has no sense
of the device. It is just a story, no
more, but it is a story told with
the very maximum of effect.
America's Old Masters
By James Thomas Flexner. New
York: The Viking Press.
Here we have, written in an ex
traordinarily pleasant manner, the
biographies of four early American
painters—Benjamin West, John Sin
gleton Copley. Charles Willson
Peale and Gilbert Stuart. Mr.
Flexner has not attempted to do a
profound job of art criticism, or
; for that matter to criticize at all.
He has instead told us the laborious
but romantic personal histories of
, four men who lifted American
I painting above the provincial level,
| treating his subjects as human be
ings first and artists afterward. It
was amazing to the reviewer to
realize how little she knew of these
early makers of American art his
| torv, and she suspects that her ig
1 norance is not unusual, either.
1 How many of us know anything
about Stuart except that he painted
George Washington? Or of West be
yond that he was the first Amer
ican artist received abroad and that
he did a sketch of his sister’s baby
while still a child himself? Such
shreds of fact and legend have for
long done this reviewer service in
lieu of more substantial knowledge.
To those similarly benighted she
recommends Mr. Flexner's volume
as a pleasant school by which to
shed some of their ignorance.
Of the four histories the most in
teresting is that of Peale. who be
gan life as a saddler and took up
painting because he found that' he
could paint. Knowing nothing of
I the mechanics of his new vocation,
| never having seen even a palette, he
devised his own tools and methods
of work. He had a narrow squeak
escaping debtors' prison in An
napolis, was subsequently sent to
! England to study by his proud fel
i low-townsmen, was received in
i West's London studio and called on
Dr. Franklin, whom he surprised
(and sketched) with “a young lady
on his knee.” He served with dis
tinction in the Revolution, devised
designs for stamps and patriotic
pageants, studied natural history
and founded a museum in that
science, created the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts and intro
duced life classes to the great hor
ror of the prudish Philadelphians,
exhumed and mounted mastodons,
was a friend of Jefferson, executed
14 portraits of Washington, mar
ried three times and set out to
look for a fourth wife in his 80s—a
brilliant, insatiably curious, inde
fatigable fellow certainly, a com
plete American, a forerunner of
such latter-day types as Edison and
Ford. His history, even thus cur
tailed, is immensely good reading.
One suggests him as a subject for
a sympathetic full-length biography.
Not much less wonderful are the
stories of the other three, all self
taught, at least to some degree, all
deriving from modest circumstances.
By all means get Mr. Flexner's book.
In this day. when young artists say
that they cannot work unless they
have a dole, it might be worth the
general attention to give some re
flection to the hard schools in
which their forerunners exercised
their genius. M.-C. R.
Nature-Lore Books Interest
Young People in October
October, with its multi-colored
landscapes and brilliant forecasting
of winter, leads young people irre
sistibly out of doors. This emphasis
upon the world of nature brings
books about the out-of-doors and
animal life into the foreground.
The Public Library, at Eighth and
K streets N.W., and its numerous
branches have collections which
cover adequately the wide variety
of interests of these young nature
To the boy whose mind uncon
sciously associates a walk through
the woods with the thought of his
dog companion, Mazo De La Roche’s
"Portrait of a Dog” gives one man’s
reminiscences of his lively and amus
ing Scotch terrier. Pox hunting at
night in the Missouri hills is de
scribed in “The Voice of Bugle Ann”
by Mackinlay Kantor. A tale of the
devotion between dog and master
in the sheep country is the ever
popular "Bob, £on of Battle,” by
Alfred Ollivant. Another great
sheep dog and his part in the big
drive from Australia to South Amer
ica is in Charles J. Finger’s “A Dog
at His Heel.”
“Red Heifer,” by P. D. Davison,
gives readers of high school age a
vivid picture of cattle grazing in
Australia through the eyes of a
restless, wild red calf. In “Smoky,
the Cowhorse,” Will James tells of
the adventures of this prize cow
pony out in the Western United
States and how he became an un
Just as fascinating as these stories
are the true adventures of men
who have made the wilderness their
home. Constance M. Rourke's “Au
dubon” takes the reader in the
footsteps of this naturalist, artist
and voodsman through frontier
America in search of birds. In
“Master of the Wilderness” John
E. Bakeless retells Daniel Boone’s
adventures with the Indians and
the elements. Dan Beard, famed
pioneer in the Boy Scout movement,
has given all boys an understanding
of the work in his autobiography,
"Hardly a Man Is Now Alive.”
An outstanding book on small
animals is “Animal Treasure,” by
Ivan T. Sanderson. The observa
tions and drawings by this young
English zoologist and artist of the
ticks and shrews, ants, flying squir
rels, frogs and other less-known
animals of West Africa make this
book exceedingly interesting.
Again in the realm of fiction is
Marjorie Rawlings’ very real por
trayal of sensitive, nature-loving
Jody Baxter and his tame fawn,
Flag, who roam the Florida forests
in “The Yearling.” Aniong the
older favorites is “Paul Bunyan,”
super-woodsman who built Niagara
Falls in order to take a shower,
whose exploits are recounted by
James Stevens.
Author of "Again the River.” (Crowell.)
Brief Reviews of New Books
C. Beck. New York: E. P. Dutton
A well-written account of some
towns of New Jersey, their history,
their one-time prosperity, their de
cline, their personalities, their houses
and landmarks. Very interesting to
the person with a taste for local an
ESTONIA. Edited by Albert Puller
its. Tallinn.
A handbook to the little country
that is now in such a parlous situa
tion, giving the facts as to popula
tion, education and economic life.
Might well engage our attention at
this particular time.
Derek Patmore. Photographs by
Herbert List. London: The Mac
millan Co., Ltd.
Travel book on Rumania, written
with superior style and discrimina
tion. Can be recommended.
The Soil.
ion Nicholl Rawson. New York:
E. P. Dutton Co.
Another of Mrs. Rawson's fine
volumes, a collection of farm lore
from New England to the Far South,
Illustrated by the author's own de
lightful pen and ink sketches. Not
a book to attract the common mind,
but a treasure to a lover of the odd
and intricate.
Morgan. New York: Thomas Y.
Crowell Co.
Story of rural America centering
in one man's fight against a river
that would not be kind. Artless.
DALES ACRES. By Florence Ward.
New York: E. P. Dutton Co.
A novel of an American family—
one of those fictional American fam
By Mark Van Doren. New York:
Henry Holt & Co.
Mr. Van Doren has not very much
to say here—and yet the reviewer
would not be ungrateful to his vol
ume either. She set out to read it.
she got as far as the essay on Henry
IV which, to be exact, is on page 116
—nay, she got to the sixth page of
that essay. But there occurs the
quotation in which Hotspur expresses
his opinion of politicians. That was
too good.
An automatic action took place in
the reviewer's frame as she read it;
she rose slowly from her chair, wan
dered toward her bookcase still
reading, withdrew a volume from the
shelves and put Mr. Van Doren’s
back in the place of it. She re
turned to her seat and spent the rest
of the night there, astonishing Bill
the red setter from time to time by
unrestrained peals of latsghter. The
volume which she exchanged for Mr.
Van Doren's sober book of criticism
was the collected plays of William
Shakespeare. And she re-read
Henry IV.
Have you read Henry IV lately? If
not, do you think perhaps that you
remember it? And that it has no
surprises for you? Get it out then.
There's always something in it that
you were not looking for. Consider,
if you please, the passage in which
Hotspur comments on the modern
poets of his admittedly golden age.
Says he;
"Id rather be a kitten and cry
Than one of these same metre
I had rather hear a brazen can
stick turned,
Or a dry wheel grate on the axle
And that would set my teeth
nothing on edge,
Nothing so much as mincing
Tis like the forced gait of a
shuffling nag.”
TT-H, the reviewer submits, is
criticism. /
But to get back to Mr. Mark Van
Doren. He does not deserve to be
left in the bookcase (in Shakespeare's
shelf) indefinitely. He should be
brought out. He should be treated
respectfully. And so it is duly re
ported here that he has given his
public an essay on each of the plays,
as well as one on the poems, and
that the said essays are perfectly
sound and scholarly and no one
need commit suicide or challenge
Mr. Mark Van Doren to a duel over
anything put down in any one of
them. In the meantime there is still
Shakespeare. And here is Hotspur
speaking again—this time on the
subject of bores:
••*•••• j.ji ^11 you What:
He held me last night at least
nine hours
In reckoning up the several devils’
That were his lackeys. I cried
‘hum,’ and ‘well, go to,’
But marked him not a word. Q,
he is tedious
As a tired horse, a railing wife;
Worse than a smoky house. I had
rather live
With cheese and garlic in a wind
mill, far,
Than feed on cates and have him
talk to me
In any summer-house in Christ
As said, there’s Shakespeare. But
our Mr. Van Doren is sound and per
fectly scholarly v—M. C. R.
ilies of great substantiality and little
imagination. Saved by the genius
of a lovely young girl. Typical stuff
Arnold. New York: Henry Holt
ii Co.
Story of young newspaperman anc
how he came to realize his sou
through seeing the hope for humar
betterment which is in America, a:
compared to the lifeless fascist rule:
of Europe. Sincere and workman^
like, but you have already read it ir
half a dozen other novels.
Foreign Policy.
QUARRELS. By Charles A
Beard. New York: The Mac
millan Co.
A tart, vigorous review of thi
waverings of the Roosevelt admin
istration in the field of foreign af
fairs, and an even tarter suggestioi
that we have reason to mind ou:
own business. A magazine article
now in book form.
By Henry Pratt Fairchild. New
York: Henry Holt & Co.
This is a book by a scienific en
thusiast. which means, of course. '
that it is written from a point of
view which all of us do not share.
It is a study of population, its in
crease and decrease and the reasons
therefor: its distribution, its relation
to prevailing conditions and a thou- j
sand and other matters, for all of
which Mr. Fairchild obviously has a
tender, prideful passion. To the
plain, average reader, however, to
the man or woman who has been
hearing about expansionist urges
and the need for national living
room and overcrowing and all that,
the work Is probably fated to be a
disappointment. For Mr. Fairchild
is too much a scientist to commit
himself rashly. He admits that the
science of interpreting population
statistics is as yet not fully developed
and he will not go beyond his bounds
of certainty. So he contents him
self by proving with great accuracy
points which most of us take for
granted anyhow, and leaving the
future to itself.
This is too bad. The reviewer her
self hoped, from the buoyancy of
Mr. Fairchilds beginning, that he
was going to give her the lowdown
on the world at last. But he only
concludes that when and if vital
statistics are read in the light of per
fect understanding, people will be
able to plan their families intelli
gently. He does not even say what
an intelligent plan will include.
Presumably it will mean a family of
such size as to allow a healthful
standard of general existence to all
its members—but do we not know
this anyhow? Science, it seems, has
let us down here rather badlv.
M.-C. R.
Best Sellers
^ Washington.
Fiction — “The Grapes of
Wrath,” John Steinbeck; “Es
cape," Ethel Vance; “The
Bride,” Margaret Irwin; “Queen
Anne Boleyn,” Francis Hack
ett; “Next to Valour,” John
Jennings; “Captain Horatio
Hornblower,” C. S. Forester.
Non-flction—“Inside Asia,”
John Gunther; “The Pressure
Boys.” Kenneth Crawford: “Not
Peace But a Sword.” Vincent
Sheean; “Wind, Sand and
Stars,” Antoine de St. Exupery;
“Let the Record Speak,” Doro
thy Thompson; “The Revolu
tion of Nihilism,” Hermann
Fiction — “The Grapes of
Wrath,” “Watch For the Dawn,”
“The Ownley Inn,” Joseph and
Freeman Lincoln; “Children of
God,” “Next to Valour.”
Non-flction —“Inside Asia,”
“Let the Record Speak,” “The
Revolution of Nihilism,” “Not
Peace But a Sword," “Country
Lawyer,” Bellamy Partridge.
Fiction — “The Grapes of
Wrath,” “Children of God,”
“Shanghai ’37,” Vicki Baum;
“Watch for the Dawn,” “Capt.
Horatio Hornblower.”
Non-flction—“Not Peace But
a Sword,” “Inside Asia,” “Days
of Our Years,” Pierre van
Paassen; “Country Lawyer,”
“The Revolution of Nihilism.”
New York.
Fiction — “The Grapes of
Wrath,” "Christ in Concrete,”
“Children of God,” “Escape,”
Ethel Vance; “Black Narcis
sus,” Rumer Godden.
Non-flction—"Country Law
yer,” “Days of Our Years,” “Not
Peace But a Sword,” “The Rev
olution of Nihilism,” “Inside
San Francisco.
Fiction — “The Grapes of
Wrath,” “Escape,” “Black Nar
cissus,” “Children of God,”
“Watch for the Dawn.”
Non-flction—“Not Peace But
a Sword,” “Inside Asia,” “The
Revolution of Nihilism,” “Mein
Kampf,” Adolf Hitler; “Coun
try Lawyer.”
Well-Known Scientist Does
The Effect of the Atom on Your
Home Life Is Explained in .
An Entertaining Fashion

Atoms in Action
By George Russell Harrison. New York: William Morrow A Co.
By learning the secrets of the atom, building block of the material
universe, science is unlocking the doors to a better physical life for all
of mankind.
Wealth consists ultimately of the control of matter and energy and
the wealth of men and nations increases as science learns to put to ►
useful purposes more of the energy that is available. Science is finding
that thera is no better way of eliminating poverty than by well-directed
“atom smashing,” according to the author, who is a professor in the
department of physics and director of the Research Laboratory of
Experimental Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His pursuit of the role of the invisible atom in modern life and
the life of tomorrow has yielded for Prof. Harrison facts out of which
he weaves a fascinating story. Though the subjects with which he deals
are among the most complicated facing modern science, his book is
remarkable for its simplicity and clearness.
He tells how knowledge of the atom has made it possible for tele
phone companies to pack into one copper pipe—not wire—a mixture of
perhaps 100 business and personal conversations, the laughter of a
radio comedian entertaining millions, telephoto currents carrying the j
picture of an airplane completing a flight across the ocean, currents
sent by a stenographer to work two dozen typewriters in as many cities
and electric power to operate the vacuum-tube amplifiers which set free
the electrons making it possible for them all to travel at 50,000 miles a
second and be unscrambled at the end, The self-answering telephone, he
says, also is at hand.
Automatic Gadgets
Explained in Detail.
Glass frying pans, building bricks, fireproof cloth and even spring
boards for swimming pools, drinking fountains which turn on automati
cally as one bends over them, spectroscopes which can tell how much
lead is in a man's blood, how much the core of a helium atom weighs, <
or a distant star, whether a greenhouse contains enough carbon dioxide
to support plant life or whether a certain type of cloth will wear well
all these are described
The author tells how new X-rays can ferret out and kill disease
! germs deep in the body, how a spray of electronic gold shot into a mold of
; soap is used to bring the magic of great music to your phonograph, how
i a telescope camera may be made to jump around automatically like a
.1 flea to follow the shimmering of a star image.
,He tells how the fact that cows eat mustard made possible the
■ development of photographic film from the skin of calves suckled by
those cows. And how a derivative of mustard oil nifcv is being used—
at the rate of one drop to a ton of emulsion—to make gelatin from
’ rabbits, who eat no mustard, good for photographic film.
■ I New- methods of making silver atoms spread themselves more finely,
■! he says, may make possible a camera so small and light it may be
1 mounted on the lens of a pair of spectacles so that the wearer need only
' j press a button to record what he sees. ' *
i The shooting of a stream of electrons through vacuum has made
I possible television and may make possible phonograph records printed
■ on paper, to be played v ith beams of light instead of needles and dis
A/) a e oVioonltr on rilu oc n vtonrcnonar Ua rn vp
He envisions for the kitchen of tomorrow a cabinet which will cook
food on top and freeze ice cubes below in a single operation. He shows
that some day the sunlight falling on the top of an automobile may be
used to drive the car without cost or sun on the roof of a house may be
used to cool and air condition the rooms within. .
Here is a volume of absorbing interest for those who would know
better the world in which they live and the doors which man's conquest
of his physical surroundings may open to every human being.—J. S. E.
Value and Distribution
By Lewis H. Haney New York: D. Appleton-Century Co.
With good reason, a fair number of the dogmatic economic theories
of the Blooming Twenties and before have been discredited under the
pitiless demands of 10 years of “depression.” This is not to say that all
the quack ideas which have flowed into Washington from the big and little
Greenwich Villages of the Nation have been of merit. In many of them,
however, has been considerable more realism and practicability than
there was about the formulae taught to an earlier generation.
In his study, Dr. Haney, professor of economics at New York Univer
sity, has cast an analytical eye on both the old and the new. For the most
part he makes clear that he prefers the old. He does it, however, without
passion and with a wealth of intelligent argument: at the same time, he
acknowledges some of the shortcomings so apparent in economic thinking
of another day.
Particularly challenging is his critique of current economics, conveying
his own belief that an excess of nationalism, romanticism and subjectivism
is coloring the thinking of today, clearing the way for a swing backward
from new extremes—but perhaps not all the way to old ones.
J. C. H.
Financing Government
By Harold M. Groves. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
Few influences so close to every citizen are less understood than that
of taxation, the means by which all our subdivisions of government are
One reason for this lack of understanding is the casual acceptance by
us all that taxes are as certain as death and that there is little we can do
as individuals to shape their course. In consequence, why puzzle over
something apparently quite dull and quite difficult? A second reason to
that the worlds of literature and economics have given us few from their
ranks who could write about taxes in an interesting fashion; invariably
those who wrote with authority wrote abstrusely, those who wrote with
clarity lacked authority.
To a very welcome degree Prof. Groves combines the qualities of clar
ity and authority. Accurately, concisely and in readable fashion, he
grounds his whole volume in an historical chapter presenting the develop
ment of public financing. From there on he writes not only as a tax law
maker. but as a taxpayer, a spender, a tax administrator and one who has
learned each phase of the taxing problem with equal thoroughness.
Not content with the relative superficialities of what taxes are in^
posed and why, the author writes pointedly about the social implications
of many of the levies imposed in recent years.
It is one of the best books of its kind now available—and its avail
ability should be a matter of interest not only to those who know little of
government financing, but to those who do or think they do know much.
J. C H.
Technology and Labor
By Elliott Dunlap Smith. New Haven: Yale University Pres3.
Few publishing firms have brought out better and more sympathetic
discussions of the problems of American labor than has the Yale Uni
versity Press. This one from the pen of Dr. Smith, professor of Industrial
Relations at Yale, is ^-worthy addition to the list.
Technological developments in industry have been generally accepted
as progress, as improvements in our machinery of production and in our
entire economy. It would be a rash thing indeed to dispute this theory*
and a flood of legitimate evidence would soon overcome any serious con
tention that we should turn backward to a horse-and-buggy motif. It
is no secret, however, that the speed of this technological development
has frequently been the master rather than the slave of our economy,
throwing out of all balance the proper relationships between the labor
of men and the labor of machines, between employe and employer.
Not for the purpose of solving this whole problem—if any'solution
exists—but only to present some authentic data on which a measure of
future industrial planning might be based did Dr. Smith and his research
associate. R. C. Nyman, spend weeks of exhaustive interview and study
of the effects of imposing technological improvements in 18 cotton mil's.
The similarity of reaction on the part of employers as a group, emplo^fc
as a group and interested observers was surprising. Beneath the reaction
was an element of panic demonstrating clearly the necessity for constant
reconstruction of industrial policies to keep step with its mechanical
American Social Problems
By Howard W. Odum. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
This is indeed an ambitious volume, directed, in the author’s own
words, "first, to present a comprehensive, authentic and vivid picture of
the American scene with the chief emphasis always on the people and
their dilemmas; and, second, to set up a realistic framework of inquiry *
through which the answers to many of their questions may be sought.”
That Prof. Odum succeeds in this objective may be conceded. Cer
tainly he fills the mind with challenging questions, turns a reader'a
thoughts into the jungle of problems which beset us in this complex eco
nomic era.
Despite its emphasis on youth, however, and his assertion that he
inscribes the work primarily to youth, it is easy to believe that his ma
chine-gun fire of provocative questions will succeed only in baffline
further the growing minds of those now seeking reality and security In
'Hie volume is excellently and effectively illustrated, for the most
part by pictures credited to the Farm Security Administration. J. C. H
■ Just Off the Press!
If it’s fiction ... if it’s non
fiction ... if it’s a new book
Just oil the press . . . you’ll
find it
in Our
fconveniently located, dr it door)
by Myquoll Morgun (A Pseudonym)
A book, relating significant ex
periences in the supernatural,
that should be of interest to
those who expected the fulfill
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who seek eternal life.
Price fifty cents.
Delivered C. O. D. in Washincton
and Arlincten. ^
M. E. Millar, P. 0. Box 112,
Arlinftoa, Vo,

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