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book reviews

Footnotes to History

The revival of interest in our early history which the last dozen years have witnessed, has brought about certain curious phenomena. None is more so than the tendency for picking up odd bits of information about various characters or events, appending them to documents usually already well studied and published, and printing the result with a loud hurrah.

A Golden Day-After-Tomorrow?

How New Will the Better World Be? By Carl L. Becker. Alfred A. Knopf. $2.50. Unfinished Business. By Stephen Bonsai. Doubleday, Doran ami Company. $3.00. Victory zvilhout Peace. By Roger Burlingame and Alden Stevens. Harcourt, Brace and Company. $2 [...]

That British Commonwealth

Empire to Commonwealth: Thirty Years of British Imperial History. By Walter Phelps Hall. New York: Henry Holt and Company. $4.50. Students' edition $3.50. The Third British Empire. By Alfred Zimmern. New York: Oxford University Press, American Bra [...]

Big and Little Poetry

The Testament of Beauty. A Poem in Pour Books. By Robert Bridges, Poet Laureate. New York: Oxford University Press. $3.50. The Compleal Workes of Cini IVitloughby Bering. New York: Payson and Clarke (Brewer and Warren). $5.00. It is of course an [...]

A Man’s Song of Life

The charm, the wonder of D. H. Lawrence is just this—that you take him or you leave him. For you he is or he is not. He's yours or he isn't. You have a feeling that he never really cared, not about that. I mean that he never really cared about too much vulgar being taken. There was something for which he did care. Caring was strong, a living impulse in him.

Advise and Dissent

If you might wonder why some persons try to move heaven and dirt to despoil the nomination to the U. S. Supreme Court of a legal scholar (as distinguished from a former law student who would have gained either legal or judicial experience or both), the reason, knowing it or not, is that they do not want another Oliver Wendell Holmes on the court. 

Mark Twain Today

On Oct. 19, 1865, the day after he finished the "Jumping Frog" story, Sam Clemens wrote to his brother and sister-in-law that he had at last found his vocation—"seriously scribbling to excite the laughter of God's creatures." Written across the top of the letter was an afterthought: "P.S. You had better shove this in the stove—for if we strike a bargain I don't want any absurd "literary remains" & "unpublished letters of Mark Twain" published after I am planted." In this lucid moment, just as he was approaching the age of 30, Mark Twain could see both where his heretofore miscellaneous career as typesetter-steamboat pilot-miner-reporter was apparently heading, and what the consequences of such a career might be.

A Latter-Day Elizabethan

The first reaction of the educated public to a new volume of political memoirs is one of wariness. Will this be another pièce justicatif — or an example of Establishment iconography aimed at glorifying distinguished pomposity—or both combined, as in the much overrated Stimson memoirs.

The Literary Remains of Mark Twain

On October 19, 1865, Sam Clemens—nearly 30 years old, in debt, haphazardly employed—wrote a letter to his brother Orion. Encouraged by the completion of his first significant creation, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog," Clemens overflowed with occupational reflections: "I never had but two powerful ambitions in my life. One was to be a pilot, & the other a preacher of the gospel." He had become a pilot, but preaching was a failure "because I could not supply myself with the necessary stock in trade— i.e., religion. . . . I have a religion—but you will call it blasphemy. It is that there is a God for the rich man but none for the poor." 

A Very Human President

Harry S. Truman was as ill prepared to be president of the United States as any man who has occupied the White House in the last century, yet he was confronted, immediately on being catapulted into office, with a wide variety of dramatic and unexpected challenges perhaps unique in modern times.