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Notes on Current Books

ISSUE:  Summer 1945

(Continued from front advertising pages.)

“The Jungle” by Alun Lewis. In the section, “A Greek Poet in England,” is an introduction to modern poetry by Demetrious Capatanakis with estimates of his work and personality by four other writers. The whole collection leaves an impression of meritable, sound writing, but lacking sparkle and vitality.

Hogarth Press 10s, 6d.

From These Roots, by Mary M. Colum.

Below all forms of modern literature arc certain root-ideas which helped make that literature. The literary tendencies of today and yesterday can be explained only by some knowledge of older comparative criticism. Back of such writers, for instance, as Zola, Dostoyevsky, Yeats, Henry James, and Proust is the fructifying influence of great critics like Lessing, Herder, Taine, and Sainte-Beuve. In this volume, originally published several years ago but now revised and enlarged, Mrs. Colum makes clear the significance of criticism as a shaping and determining force, in writing. New desires and aspirations arc at bottom older intellectual and emotional expressions with changed emphasis and in modified form. “Writing is no longer re-creating itself; it is simply reflecting itself, however this interpretation may be masked by the use of adroit technical devices.” She believes, with Oscar Wilde, that “there has never been a creative age that has not been critical also.” Mrs. Colum, a distinguished author in her own right and wife of the poet Padraic Colum, has written a profoundly thoughtful vol nine of literary interpretation.  Columbia $2.50


The Doctor’s Job, by Carl Binger

The doctor’s job, as this Cornell medical professor sees it, is as much to prevent illness as to cure it. He sets the stage for his discussion of doctor-patient relationships by outlining the development of the healing art from superstition to specialization. It is the job of today’s physician to be trained in human under-

standing, and to be able to solve alike problems of physical disorders and those growing out of short-circuited human emotions.  Norton $3

Other Men’s Flowers, an anthology of verse. Selected and annotated by A. P. Wavell.

This is a purely personal anthology, collected and arranged for his own amusement by a distinguished soldier who has a very retentive memory for verse. It shows a taste for good, substantial poetry, most fully represented by Browning and Kipling, with Masefield and Chesterton not far behind. One of the collector’s own poems, “Sonnet for the Madonna of the Cherries,” is given at the close. Viscount Wavell’s notes and order of arrangement add to the interest of the collection. There are indexes of authors, titles, and first lines.  Putnam $8.50

Essays in Musical Analysis: Chamber Music, by Donald Francis Tovey.

A first glance at the table of contents of this volume may disappoint the would-be reader, for chamber music has been taken in its broadest sense to include works not usually placed in this category. A more careful examination, however, will reveal many of Tovey’s best analyses, Much as one may regret that the author did not write any of his brilliant analyses of the quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, those on the “Goldberg Variations,” the “Diabelli Variations,” the Brahms “Handel Variations,” and Bach’s “Art of Fugue” are rich compensation. The selection of the essay on chamber music from Cobbett’s “Cyclopedia” as the opening essay was a happy choice. Tin’s volume is a distinguished companion to those already issued.  Oxford $4

Musical Articles from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, by Donald Francis Tovey.

As the title indicates, this volume contains the articles written by Tovey for the eleventh through the fourteenth editions of the “Britannica,” collected and edited by Hubert Foss. These articles on “technique and aesthetics of music” arc well known in their original form, but they deserve to be much more widely read since they include some of the best of Tovcy’s writings. Mr. boss explains that the idea of collecting them in one volume was Tovcy’s own, and it proves to be sound, since the articles gain immeasurably from being published so that they may be easily read as parts of a whole.

Oxford $4

Esquire’s 1945 Jazz Book, edited by Paul Eduard Miller.

The factual material contained in this publication is useful and interesting. Biographies and record lists, the “discography” for 1945 and the illustrations are all valuable for reference. But when will the critics realize that everyone knows jazz is a part of our life and times? When will they put down the cudgels and get busy with intelligent analysis of performance and styles? The most valuable section of the book should be that entitled “The Main Currents of Jazz,” but what is the serious reader to think when be is told that jazz is divided into five emotional attitudes of which, for example, the “Decadent” is typified by “lush resignation” and “the utter inability to adjust”? One can only hope that the authorities on jazz will improve their attempts to instruct and interest the intelligent public. The pamphlet format is deplorable.

Barnes $1

The Devil’s Share, by Denis de Rougemont.

This essay in moral philosophy is an analysis of many aspects of contemporary personal and public morality in which the essential truth in the. myth of the Devil is rehabilitated with profound insight. Satan’s favorite role is that of deceiver. In the deception and self-deception of our time, which no longer believes in his reality, the fiend is really having a field day. Now that enlightened man knows that Satan is only a myth, so the Devil teaches us, there is no evil except the inhibition of natural desire. Moral discipline and objective criteria of truth are easily swept away before the various tides of vitalism, dynamism, expressionism, or nationalism. Pantheon $2.50 WAR & PEACE

The German Record: A Political Portrait, by William Ebenstein.

The best of the spate of recent studies in the pathology of modern Germany is this diagnosis by a recognized authority on European political movements. Scholarly, penetrating, and balanced, it reaches back to the Middle Ages to clarify the essential pattern of German history, and treats in detail the reasons for Western Liberalism’s failure to overcome the dominant absolutist, militarist, nnd generally reactionary forces that from the French Revolution to the Nazi Reich have enlisted the allegiance of the majority of Germans. The careful analysis of the demise of the Weimar Republic is especially good, notably in its acid treatment of Social Democratic ineffectiveness and in its scuttling of many conventional legends. In the final chapters Professor Ebenstein stresses the importance of realistic American understanding of Germany as a standing problem of our own security, and concludes that, although it may never become democratic, a de-nazi-fied and partially de-industrialized Germany will at least cease to be a continual menace to human decency and world pence.  Farrar & Rinehart $3

The Plot Against the Peace, by Michael Savers and Albert E. Kahn.

This third collaborative effort of the Sayers-Kahn team should jolt out of complacency any who may think that with the war now won, a return to “normalcy” is just around the corner. They see the winning of the peace as a continuing conflict against Nazi ideologies which have, they contend, taken deep root in many corners of America. They warn against world-wide fascist intrigues, outlining events lending up to World War II to point out how a third world conflict may be in the making. And as they tell tales, thev do not hesitate to name names.

Dial $2.75

Europe Free and United, by Albert Guerard.

A peaceful, prosperous Europe willbest serve America’s interests. Such a Europe, Mr. Gu6rard claims, can be established only by the formation of a regional union—the European Union— by the free peoples of that area bound; together by their common culture. This Union would join with other great countries and regions in a World Commonwealth for the purpose of international co-operation and maintenance of the peace. Within the Union there would be free circulation of goods, men, and ideas, and common police, financial structure, and social legislation. The obstacle of nationalism would be overcome by freeing it from territorial identity, wherein it becomes so dangerous, as religion has been separated from the state. Great Britain would be included in the Union, but the Soviet Union, a distinct regional bloc in itself, would be omitted. Germans would he absorbed as a minority with eventual equal status with other citizens of the European Union. With his rich knowledge of European traditions and problems, and with liberalism and brilliance, Mr. Guerard has sketched the major outlines of the plan and the objections to it. He has avoided blueprints which others discussing this tremendous problem have presented. Unfortunately, however, the social architect must work in a community endowed with the perception and skills which will bring his work to fruition, The international community is not yet so endowed. Traditional interests and fears have led the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union to oppose a European Union at this time. In addition, Mr. Guerard’s program called in effect for a political vacuum as the European war ended. It ignored the uneven, gradual liberation of countries and the extent to which local solutions to immediate problems would he sought. The sad plight of UNRRA is in part a testimonial to this fact.  Stanford $2.50 The Big Three, by David J. Dallin.

The focal point in this book is Mr. Dallin’s intense disapproval of Soviet Russia and his consequent distrust of that country’s actions and policies in the days ahend. He discounts as motives for her present policies Russia’s professed desire for security and her nationalistic inclinations, and instead stresses the development of a new Soviet ideological imperialism. As a discourse on the relations of the three greatest powers, this book is a great disappointment. The shift in naval supremacy from Britain to the United States, and the efforts of the Soviet Union to develop naval power are explored, and many pages are devoted to surveying areas of actual or potential friction between the three powers in Middle Europe, the Near East, and the Ear East. But many assertions are left unsubstantiated and much is omitted altogether. Economic relationships are scarcely discussed, relations with other powers are almost ignored, the United Nations Organization is summarily dismissed as a temporary alliance, and no mention is made of the numerous other efforts at international co-operation. Most amazingly, in this age, air power is entirely ignored by Mr. Dallin. Indeed, although his desire for a lasting pence may be. genuine, bis pessimistic, fragmentary, and almost sterile approach contributes little toward its attainment.  Yale $2.75

These Are the Russians, by Richard E. Lauterbach.

There have been a number of recent books concerned with the economic, political, military, and foreign policies of the Soviet Union. Richard Lauterbach, correspondent for Time and Life magazines, touches these subjects only incidentally. As the title implies, he is concerned that we know the Russians as a people—their attitudes toward war and toward us, the totality of their war efforts, their sacrifices, and their aspirations for the future. The unevenness of parts of his writing is easily compensated for by his astute observation and careful and colorful reporting. Especially interesting are his numerous conversations with persons in

all walks of life, in high station and low, his profiles of Stalin, Zhukov, and Novikov, the stories of the defense of Len, ingrad, the underground in Odessa during the Rumanian occupation, and the vast efforts at reconstruction.

Harper $3

Strangers in India, by Penderel Moon,

Pcederel Moon, an Englishman, served nearly fifteen years in the India Civil Service, yet his’ book is far from the usual defense of the British position in India. On the contrary, he is severely critical of that position, and was persuaded that India should receive her independence as soon as the war ended, This work is especially valuable for the enlightenment afforded by the author on the inability of the British to solve the tremendous problem of poverty in India, and the error of applying the British legal system. He believes that a Pakistan may be feasible and that the major Indian States may have a function to fulfill in a free India. Much vitality is given to the author’s views by his use of the case method of illustration.

Reynal & Hitchcock $2

The Economic Basis of Politics, by Charles A. Beard.

This new edition of this classic in political science, by one of America’s most eminent scholars, contains an additional chapter which explores the significant recent developments in the relationship between economies and politics. Professor Beard analyzes the contemporary systems of fascism, communism, and our own government wherein politics increasingly conditions economics, whereas economies formerly conditioned politics. A knowledge of these relationships, so clearly and succinctly stated in this brief work, is vital to the understanding of political action. Professor Beard’s analysis of new class relationships in the Soviet Union is a valuable contribution to the materials on that country. Knopf $1.75

Time for Planning, by Lewis L. Lorwin.

Here is a valuable contribution to the literature concerning the current controversy about planning. Lewis Lorwin brings to bis work wide experience as former member of the Brookings Institute, economic adviser in the International Labour Office, consultant to the National Resources Planning Board, and one of the founders of the National Economic and Social Planning Association. He points the need for democratic public planning in the national and international spheres; presents some of the history, methods, and philosophy of planning; and cogently defends the position that positive, planned action by the state is consistent with individual freedom nad twentieth-century democracy. Harper $3

Can Representative Government Do the Job? by Thomas K. Finletter.

Mr. Finletter’s answer to the question of his title is in the affirmative, provided we modernize our government so that it may perform its new functions without weakening the powers of Congress and limiting political freedom. This modernization consists largely of developing, within the traditional framework of American government, a system of co-operation between Congress and the Executive, so that our government may not in the future he hamstrung by the opposition of these agencies which our present system makes inevitable. Mr. Finletter’s experiences as Special Assistant to the Secretary of State and as a member of tbe law faculty of the University of Pennsylvania have given him a perception of governmental problems which be analyzes with brilliance in this little book. It should have a wide public, since the ability of our government in the future to handle its tasks effectively and efficiently will vitally affect all of us.

Regnal & Hitchcock $2

General Education in a Free Society, by the Harvard Committee.

After two years of intensive study, a committee of twelve educators at Harvard, appointed by President Conant, has produced in this compact and lucidly written volume a monumental work on the problem of adjusting educational require-

ments to meet the needs of the well-rounded citizen in our dynamic age. The committee, convinced of the interrelationship of high school and college training, devoted much of its attention to the problems of high school training. I found no conflict between the need for specialized training and general education, but deplored the recent lack, especially under the free elective system, of an adequate and integrated program for general education. The committee argues convincingly that if the broad mass of our citizens have not attained the perspective toward society which is derived from a sound general education, there will exist a constant danger to the well-being of our society. Without specifying de-tails, the committee suggests both the objectives of general education and the subject matter and methods it considers vital to their attainment at the high school and college level. Its program for Harvard University will attract wide attention elsewhere. While the search for a sound educational program is a continuous process, and one involving considerable controversy, there can be little doubt thai the Harvard committee has made a contribution of such importance as to command the attention of educators at high school and college levels throughout the country.  Harvard $2


The Colonial Agents of the Southern Colonies, by Ella Lonn.

Benjamin Franklin was the most renowned of the official agents who represented the various colonies before the Home Government in London, but most of them are unknown to fame, and their works arc remembered even less than their names. Professor Lonn has resurrected the whole roster of those who were employed by the Southern Colonics and presented them for our inspiration. Only specialists will care to read the work through, but it throws interesting sidelights on many phases of Colonial history and is, therefore, valuable for reference.

North Carolina $5 The Fall of the Old Colonial System: A Study in British Free Trade, 1770-1870, by Robert Livingston Schuyler.

When England’s wealth depended on the commerce carried on by her ships, she founded colonies, and, fearing Dutch, French, and Spanish competition, undertook to monopolize the trade of her empire. When the Industrial Revolution enabled her manufacturers to undersell all others, she came gradually to adopt a policy of free trade, and the bonds of empire were relaxed. This transition is authoritatively and lucidly discussed by Professor Schuyler. Oxford $8

Portraiture in the Virginia Historical Society, by Alexander Wilbourne Wcddell.

Portraiture is a matter of personal and family interest and it is also one of the minor arts. Mr. Weddell looks upon it as historical material, and he has done more than any other man to make Virginia portraiture available as such. The work is not merely a list of portraits belonging to the Virginia Historical Society; it gives scholarly sketches of the. subjects and artists, and is a mine of succinct information not only on oil portraits, but on miniatures, silhouettes, busts, and casts. The author has made himself an authority on the subject, and this volume supplements his more imposing work on Virginia portraiture.

Virginia Historical Society $2

An Essay upon the Government of the English Plantations on the Continent of America (1701), edited by Louis R. Wright.

Dr. Wright has performed a valuable historical service in bringing to light this all-but-forgotten essay, which one scholar has pronounced “an extraordinarily original production, not exceeded in interest as political writing by anything . . . emanating from this country in the first half of the eighteenth century.” It was presumably written by Robert Beverley, the Virginia historian, and as source material on the contemporary political institutions of the Colony, it is highly important. Huntington Library $2.50

Armenia and the Byzantine Empire, by Sirarpie Der Nersessian.

One of the factors making it difficult for us to understand contemporary Eastern European civilization is our scant knowledge of its historical evolution, These lectures, originally presented by a Wellesley savante under the auspices of the Ecole Libre des Hautes Etudes of New York, survey certain central aspects of the culture of medieval Armenia, with particular attention to their Byzantine connections. Two introductory chapters outline Armenian history and the Armenian church’s position in medieval religious controversy. Three others describe with charming clarity the development of medieval Armenian architecture, sculpture, and painting. Plates, plans, and a map of Greater Armenia supplement the text. It was not Miss Der Nersessian’s purpose to write a history of medieval Armenian culture, but within the limits she set herself she has succeeded in producing an important contribution to an increasingly significant subject.

Harvard $3


Tom Paine: America’s Godfather, by W. E. Woodward.

During his lifetime and since his death in 1809 Thomas Paine has been much maligned, despite his patriotic services in our struggle for independence through such publications as “Common Sense” and “The Crisis.” His native England banned his book on the “Rights of Man” and outlawed the author, and the French Revolutionary government, of which he was for a while a part, imprisoned and all but executed him for one of his pamphlets. His last years in the United States were embittered by virulent attacks in the press. To him were freely applied various names of opprobium, from traitor to filthy atheist (he was not an atheist but a Deist). His latest biographer undertakes to present a true picture of this much reviled man, showing him as the inspirer of American independence and the staunch advocate of progressive political and social reforms which long ago became a part of our democratic faith. Paine numbered among his friends such leading Americans as Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, and in France he knew and was highly esteemed by Lafayette. By proving many of the charges against him to be false and propagandist in their nature, Mr. Woodward has restored Tom Paine to the place among our founding fathers which thoughtful, liberal Americans, without making him a saint, have long claimed for him. He shows that Paine was often tactless and bullheaded and gifted in the ungentle art of making enemies, but that he was conscientious and intellectually a genius. In his political and religious thinking he was a modern; his books form a distinguished contribution to American and European literature, the work of a restless intellectual. Mr. Woodward’s book is the defense of a man whose name is still in many minds a synonym of evil.

Dutton $8.50

Diplomat in Carpet Slippers, by Jay Monaghan.

The diplomatic problems faced by the Lincoln administration are woven around the President’s personal role in their solution. Independent, having no fixed policy, Lincoln met opposition on all sides—William Seward within the cabinet, Thurlow Weed without. By adroit, though sometimes slightly too colorful characterization of these and other leading men, Mr. Monaghan, compiler of the “Lincoln Bibliography,” has told the complicated story of Civil War diplomacy with verve and humor, depending on human relationships rather than events to tell the drama of a critical period in our history.

Bobbs-Merrill $4

Tolstoy and His Wife, by Tikhon Polner.

The strongly autobiographical nature of all Tolstoy’s writing is emphasized in this intimate account of his family life by a close personal friend. Certain scenes and characters in “War nnd Peace” and “Anna Karenina,” for instance, arc drawn from actual experience. The Tolstoys’ married life was marked by frequent quarrels and reconciliations; Count Tol-

stoy insisted on a literal application of Christian precepts, while the Countess, mother of thirteen children, naturally opposed her husband’s altruistic theories and practices. The clash between the two temperaments ended in Tolstoy’s flight from home, his wife’s attempted suicide, and the final reunion in alien surroundings just before the old man’s death from pneumonia. Years later Countess Tolstoy said to the author of the present volume: “I lived with Lev for forty-eight years, but I never really learned what kind of man he was.” From Mr, Polner’s book the reader of today will get a good idea of that turbulent Russian genius and his alternately happy and miserable companion who saved the family fortunes from utter wreck.

Norton $2.75

Mozart—His Character, His Work, by Alfred Einstein.

The distinguished editor of the Koechel “Catalogue” has written the best critical biography of Mozart in the English language. The first part of the book deals with certain aspects of Mozart’s life as n man, and as a musician. It includes chapters of great interest on his genius, his processes of creation, and his universality. The second, and in this reader’s opinion the more important, part of the book deals with the music. In this section there are, among others of almost equal merit, excellent chapters on the chamber music, the symphonies, and the clavier concertos. Several fine chapters are devoted to the opera. It is quite impossible to give an adequate idea of the book in so short a review. Suffice it to say that this is one of the finest contributions to the literature on Mozart. Every musician and every lover of Mozart s music should read it.  Oxford $5

Enrico Caruso: His Life and Death, by Dorothy Caruso.

Many people believe Caruso to have been the greatest Italian tenor of the last fifty years. None of his successors has achieved his celebrity. His name still evokes the great days of Italian opera in America. This book, written by his wife, emotions and impressions. The. complete emancipation of a New Englander trained at Groton and Harvard, exposed to the tropical seductions of New Orleans and Central America, and intimate associations with the Indians of New Mexico, is irregularly and vitally recorded in this readable and manifestly sincere volume. The chapters on New Orleans nnd life in the Indian reservations nre pnrticulnrly interesting, the first for romantic sensations and the second for scientific observations. The poet, the novelist, and the ethnologist are harmoniously combined in Mr. La Farge, who has wrought his raw materials into a lively, coherent volume of confessions. It is seldom that a man still in “the midst of this our mortal life” so completely exposes himself’ to the public.    Houghton Mifflin $3

My Quest for Freedom, by John M. Mecklin.

A career, or “pilgrimage,” from fundamentalist repression in the deep South, through later study in German universities, teaching in several Pennsylvania colleges, to ultimate freedom at Dartmouth—that is the range of this autobiography, written at the request of Mr. Mecklin’s students. The earlier part of the book treats the not unfamiliar theme of paternal effort to indoctrinate a recalcitrant son in Calvinistic thinking. The dramatic high point in this quest for intellectual freedom was reached in Mr. Mecklin’s controversy with the president of Lafayette College, where he was professor of philosophy, the outcome of which was his own resignation as well as the unhorsing of the college head. Twenty subsequent years at Dartmouth assured the pugnacious professor a tolerant haven for teaching nnd writing. “My Quest for Freedom” affords an opportunity for the exploitation of a great variety of subjects, from Greek philosophy to Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Carnegie. It is a personal and frank narrative of adventure among people and ideas, parts of which furnish very lively reading indeed. Mr. Mecklin is most interesting when he has his war paint on, or in more knightly phrasing, when he is tilting at educa-

tional windmills, real or fancied. As an emancipated Calvinist, he was never quite able to forget his adolescent sufferings. If this pilgrim had had more tact, his journey would have been smoother, but being a born rebel he gloried fighting intolerance and telling about it.

Scrihner’s $2.75

The Crack-Up, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Spokesman of the Jazz Age, Scott: Fitzgerald died early in 1941, but be had been dying emotionally long before this; in a sense, his creative career had ended with the Fabulous Twenties. After 1929, he had experienced a deepening grayness of soul. He felt that he was “standing at twilight on a deserted range, with an empty rifle in my hands and the targets down.” He derived a morbid and inverted satisfaction at witnessing his own spiritual and physical disintegration. With flashes of his earlier brilliance, he described his collapse in autobiographical essays, like “The Crack-Up,” published several years before his death. This, along with several similar sketches, is republished in an excellently edited volume by his old friend — his “intellectual conscience,” Fitzgerald called him—Edmund Wilson. This volume also contains letters and poems from Fitzgerald’s contemporaries like John Dos Passos and John Peale Bishop, hitherto-unpublished letters, and a superb collection of material from his note-books.  New Directions $3.50


Reflections in a Mirror, by Charles Morgan Selections have been made from a series; of papers that have been printed in the London Times Literary Supplement to form a book of essays by Charles Morgan, well-known as the author of “The Fountain” and other novels. The themes vary from “Why Birds Sing” and “Emily Bronte” to “The Idea of Europe” and “The Return of France.” The opening essay, “In Search of Values,” undertakes to suggest the idea underlying the scries. It is a refreshing experience to rend essays so entertainingly contrived, so distinguished in style, and so stimulating in ideas. Since the publications of the essays of Max Beerbohm, G. K. Chesterton, and Virginia Woolf, there has perhaps been published no examples of the form more rewarding to the seasoned reader than “Reflections in a Mirror.”

Macmillan $2.50

The Profane Virtues, by Peter Quennell.

In four urbane essays, Mr. Quennell illuminates further four “ancestors to whom every educated citizen of the modern world is more or less indebted.” To him, “Gibbon, Boswell, Sterne, Wilkes are names that evoke, if not the whole of the eighteenth-century achievement, some important aspects of its fertile and abounding genius.” He succeeds admirably in bis main intent in writing of tbe four: “to refresh their portraits, to suggest similarities and dissimilarities, and the relation they bear to a wide historical background.”  Viking $3

The Letters of Mary W. Shelley, edited by Frederick L. Jones.

In two full volumes of letters, beginning with one to Shelley in 1814 and ending with a letter written five months before Mrs. Shelley’s death on February 1, 1851, the personality of Mary Wollstoneeraft Shelley has full opportunity for expressing itself. The volumes are ably edited by Professor Frederick Jones of Mercer University. They would be of first importance to students of English literature if their interest consisted only in being the correspondence of the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley, who edited after his death her husband’s works. Rut the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Goodwin was also the author of “Frankenstein” and other books, including five or six novels. She exchanged letters with many interesting people, including Shelley’s friends Hogg, Leigh Hunt. Trelawny, and Lord Byron. Though not an accomplished letter writer, Mary Shelley revealed herself, her novels, and thoughts, with friendly sincerity. The letters are not among those rare letters that are precious for themselves, but they tell the story of a sensitive, gifted woman.

Many works of fiction, including several by Mary Shelley, have been less interesting as reflections of human nature.

Oklahoma $13

Letters, by Felix Mendelssohn.

Mendelssohn’s letters have many of the qualities of his music. They are fluent, polished, well constructed, often witty, and not infrequently profound. This selection from the composer’s voluminous correspondence begins with letters written at the age of twelve and covers his life, They do more to reveal the integrity of Mendelssohn as a musician than do most biographies. They also do much to explain why Mendelssohn made so many devoted friends. The editor has made numerous excisions in the letters in order to give them continuity. Some of these are justified, others are not. Sense it occasionally sacrificed for brevity. The choice of letters, however, is good, the translations, apart from a few obvious errors, are adequate. The general format of the book is excellent.

Pantheon $4.50

The Yogi and the Commissar, by Arthur Koestler.

Between the yogi who believes in the value of change only from within and the commissar representing force from without is the man, a combination of revolutionary and saint, to save us from capitalist imperialism and “Enstern Byzantinism” by a truly socialist movement. An outcry for spiritual nourishment sell the tone of Koestler’s first collection of essays. He pleads for an active fraternity of short-term pessimists who will build oases in the period of transitory chaos which follows the collapse of traditional values and a new age. The major portion of the book is devoted to a scathing polemic, hitherto unpublished, on the Soviet myth in which he bewails the betrayal of Utopia by the Russians who, he asserts, have moved away from rather than toward Socialism. The most entertaining essays arc the discussions of the role of the intelligentsia, the intellectual and moral level of reviewers, the vogue of Gide and Aragon, and the excellent hundred years ago General Eaton, commissioned solely for this expedition, attempted to suppress the Barbary pirates by a joint land and sea action against Tripoli. He saw, as few of his contemporaries did, the dangers of isolationism for our country, but he failed to complete his mission for lack of support at home. “Written in Sand” describes a moment in history significant in its aims if not in its results.  Houghton Mifflin $2

Mrs. Heriot’s House, by Barbara Webster.

There are people who seem never to put out roots that bind them to a house or town or plot of land, but the widowed Mrs. Heriot was not one of these. The house she found and made home was tall and thin and set against a hill in the country. However, what bad seemed to be a charming domestic and pastoral idyll turns into a problem novel with sociological and psychological implications that are somewhat grim. Excellent as it is in some respects, the story would have been stronger if the author had stuck to one thesis.  Scribner’s $2.50

A Whiter in Geneva, by Anne Goodwin Winslow.

These stories engender a nostalgic longing for a gracious way of living now nearly as extinct as the old South. They all revolve about a charming lady who, however, never seems more involved in the dramatic situations portrayed than an actress in the plays she performs. “For Ulisse,” which is about a refined but illiterate white household worker and her love affair, escapes this classification nnd thus, structurally, seems the best of the lot. Despite the excellent quality of the writing, these pieces are more like reflections in a stream than the true picture itself.  Knopf $2.50

The Ivy Years, by Earl Sehenck Miers.

Here is a novel of college life that is both sympathetic and realistic. Mr. Miers has written an admittedly autobiographical story set within Rutgers University. He has had sixteen years of close associa-tion with Rutgers and he knows what happens on a college campus, in classroom,

dormitory, and fraternity. He knows students, faculty members, administrators and academic hangers-on. He knows the strong points and the sore spots of academic communities, and as he tells his story he highlights problems that are perplexing colleges and universities all over the land.  Rutgers $2.50


Are Men Equal? by Henry Alonzo Myers.

The author answers his title question by answering that only in things spiritual arc men equal: “Each man is to himself equal to the great world of his own experience . . . and this world has the same import to all; it tenches each the lesson of his own infinite worth.” Accordingly, one being of infinite worth is equal to another being of infinite worth. Having established this idea of the meaning of the doctrine of equality, Mr. Myers loots nt the idea historically, as it was treated by Plato and Aristotle, and found expression in three periods of American history, 1770-1856, 1850-1861, 1861-1941. In the final chapter he finds the true meaning of democracy in terms of spiritual equality. An interesting, well-written, thoughtful study that complements the political scientist’s notion of equality.

Putnam’s $2.50

Ethics and Language, by Charles L. Stevenson.

The author, a professor of philosophy at Yale, presents a study of ethical judgments and of the methods of proving them. Although pointing out that ethics can never be made a science, he believes that ethics can become, more scientific if we realize that ethical judgments using such terms as “good,” ‘ “right,” “just,” and “ought” are compounds of attitudes, emotions, and beliefs, and if we could develop more flexible methods of getting at the meaning of our ethical pronouncements. By learning to recognize the. attitude aspect of ethical statements, we can spot the chief source of “irrational” agreement or disagreement; by perceiving their belief aspect, we see what can be argued about


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