THE LIBRARY TERN
Published monthly from October by the
Hamilton Smith Library, of th Aniv r .y X
of New Hampshire <
Entered as second-class matter October 10, 1927, at the post office at Durhpshire, under the
act of August 24, 1912.
Vol. 14 DECEMBER, 1938 No. 3
THE PITY OF IT
MY SON, MY SON!, by Howard Spring.
Briefly, this is the story of William Essex who fought his way up from the
Manchester slums and became a successful novelist and playwright. He married
unimaginative Nellie Moscrop who bore him a son as beautiful as a young god.
It is the story of the O'Riordens too; Dermot and Sheila, talented Maeve for
whom "Uncle Bill" wrote plays, Eileen and Rory. Both fathers had high hopes
for their sons. William gave Oliver the luxuries he had been denied, but his
son was made of weaker stuff and arrogance and a break with his father resulted.
Then came the War with all its hysteria and the Irish Rebellion with its dire out-
come for the two families who had enjoyed such happy times together. Life de-
manded that William Essex drink more deeply of the cup of sorrow before the
heart-stricken words of King David were torn from his lips. The book is con-
vincingly written and we feel that the characters with their joys and sorrows are
people we have known intimately.
THE SOCIAL VALUE OF SCIENCE
SCIENCE FOR THE CITIZEN, by Lancelot Hogben.
This is no primer whose contents can be mastered in an evening or two.
Rather it is a course of study which might well occupy two evenings a week
throughout the winter, with the reward of a thorough understanding of the funda-
mentals of science. The author has a gift for clarifying problems which are hard
for the average mind to grasp, and also for writing entertainingly, whether it be
of mathematical series or of chromosomes. The book is not arranged according
to the conventional divisions of science, but deals in turn with man's conquest
of the various phases of his environment: the conquest of time reckoning and space
measurement, of substitutes, of power, of hunger and disease, of behavior. Thus
the outlook is highly social, in fact the underlying theme of the whole is that science
goes hand in hand with social needs; that it has advanced conspicuously when it
has been in active contact with the world's work. In predicting the social value
of science for the future, the author sees it liberating us from the terror of the
gods, changing the political and economic structure of society, and eventually in-
fluencing the creation of a new world order.
BONE OF CONTENTION
THE COMING STRUGGLE FOR LATIN AMERICA, by Carleton Beals.
Mr. Beals is well acquainted with the situation which he so ably presents.
Japan, Soviet Russia, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and the United States are all
striving for the favors of this country teeming with virgin resources. Even Franco
has his finger in the pie. What will happen if one power gets a larger plum than
the others approve of? The author feels that Latin America may work out her
own salvation and the chances seem rather slim that her "good neighbor" will be
called upon to do any rescue work. "The real barrier to the eventual purpose of Ger-
man, Italian, British and American propaganda in Latin America is the normal
desire of the southern lands for true sovereignty and independence."
o-T- Q.4 No2
ALONE, by Richard E. Byrd.
At last has come the book that Admiral Byrd could not bring himself to write
for four years. His reticence was prompted by the very personal nature of the
experience he underwent in the little shack buried in the snow 123 miles south
of Little America. While this reticence is understandable, it is fortunate that it
was overcome by the persuasion of the Admiral's friends, for he has given us the
account of a unique experience. He conquered loneliness and despondency, and
with no stimulation but that to the senses, he felt more alive than ever before.
When he became ill from the fumes of his stove it was only by force of will that
he obtained enough food and warmth to keep him alive. If he had not had such a har-
rowing and almost unsuccessful struggle, we should have had a different story,
but the preoccupation with mere existence is the lesser part of this great adven-
ture of the spirit against hostile nature. Reduced to living in bare simplicity,
the Admiral reached a serenity born of the realization that half of our confusion
comes from not knowing how little we need.
THE PLANETS, by Alfred Kreymborg.
Alfred Kreymborg, as he tells us in his introduction, has written this play
expressly for radio production. For this reason he must depend almost entirely
on sound to carry the emotion and technique of the play without the visible aid of
scenery or acting-motion. Therefore we draw our impressions from the spoken
word with a scenic background set in sound rather than in sight. Reading this
does not do justice to it unless we can add in our imagination the emotional in-
fluence of the background which is given as are stage directions for the stage play.
The plot of this play is concerned with certain Greek gods who have given
their names to the planets and one modern astronomer. Even in this rather mild
allegory one can see the makings of a scare such as the play, "War from Mars"
created a few weeks ago. This first published radio play should be an incentive
for both creative writers and sound engineers to start cooperating in this field.
WE ARE NOT AMUSED
WITH MALICE TOWARD SOME, by Margaret Halsey.
The author's husband received an exchange professorship at an English col-
lege and this is her diary of their first eight months abroad. It includes a trip
to Scandinavia and a brief holiday in Paris, but most of the book is devoted to
ridiculing the English. Many people find the book screamingly funny. For our
part, we feel that her efforts to be brightly humourous fail rather miserably, with
one or two exceptions. Being a bit malicious ourselves, we would like to hear
the comments of the Bishop's wife about Margaret Halsey, though she would un-
doubtedly refrain from such rudeness. Nevertheless, it is a best seller, so make
A SECOND BARON MUNCHAUSEN?
THE HEALING KNIFE; A SURGEON'S DESTINY, by George Sava, pseud.
This autobiography by a young Russian refugee is so fantastic from beginning
to end that it is hard to believe it is not pure fiction and at that of the Arabian
Nights order. From a Russian naval officer to a refugee; from a guest in a
Turkish palace to a stoker studying anatomy in a hospital morgue; from a waiter
in a Paris restaurant to a ballet dancer; from an art model to a medical student
in Florence and finally to a successful M. D. All this along with a few love affairs
and the descriptions of many surgical cases make a tale you can not put aside.
HOSTESS OF A NEW ENGLAND SALON
ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO, by Rachel Field.
No fiction is this thrilling tale of Henriette Desportes, but an authentic bi-
ography of a member of the author's own family. If it were fiction it would be
dismissed as scarcely plausible, so far reaching were the unwitting effects of this
woman's personality. As a governess in the household of a French Due, she be-
came unjustly involved in scandal that had its end in a brutal murder which in
turn was partly responsible for the downfall of the last French King, Louis
Philippe. After the troubled months of imprisonment and trials, Henriette sought
peace in America. Later she married Henry W. Field, noted minister and editor,
and for many years their home was a favorite meeting place for the most important
men of the day. Access to family records and a lifetime of hearing about this fas-
cinating great-aunt, assure the author's accuracy.
ARMS AND THE MEN
DYNASTY OF DEATH, by Taylor Caldwell.
Two brothers shake hands over a contract while outside the lightning flashes
and the thunder rolls like a "terrible prophecy of doom." This was the beginning
of the family company, the dynasty that dealt in death. From such small begin-
nings grew in three generations the greatest armament making industry in the
United States. Though one follows with interest the large cast of characters, it
is the plot of the novel that is most important, and the descriptions of the sudden
rise of big business and the so-called "robber barons" during the 19th century are
the most convincing. Over long and heavy, there are occasionally chapters that
show real restraint and beauty. The author states clearly that his book has no
intentional resemblance to any persons or businesses.
NEW ENGLAND JUSTICE
THE GENERAL'S LADY, by Esther Forbes.
The General's Lady is much more a narrative of character, of growing, chang-
ing spirit, and of colonial justice than a story of Revolutionary days. Pride,
beauty and passion do have power to carry one on to the unknown, and as with
Morganna Milroy, the General's Lady, even to the gallows.
ONE WOMAN ACCEPTS HER DESTINY
THE DOOR OF LIFE, by Enid Bagnold.
Delicate and tranquilly beautiful are the thoughts of this woman as she awaits
the birth of a child. During the days before the birth she dwells in twi,- wrlds.
One, the world where her other children run and play and chatter, where the
cook upsets the household by giving sudden notice, where she is ruler of the
home in the absence of her husband. Then the other world, ruled by the child-
unborn whose life past and present she contemplates. The "Squire" looks at
these children of hers as through the eyes of a stranger, and delights in them.
You, too, will delight in them and admire their mother for her courage land good-
sense, even for her bluntness and occasional petulance.
NEIGHBORS YOU MIGHT MEET
ANIMAL NEIGHBORS OF THE COUNTRYSIDE, by Joseph Wharton.
A simple nature book full of real information, newsy intimate facts and tales
of animals, with excellent sketches. One is inclined to start right out to call on
these unknown friends.
SPEAKING OF POETRY
A NEW ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN POETRY, edited by Selden Rodman.
MAINE BALLADS, by Robert P. Tristram Coffin.
The young man shakes his brocade sacks
And forth the curios fall,
El Greco shapes with broken backs,
Dried blooms of Provencal;
A last year's news-sheet from the bourse,
A murderer's plea for bail.
Bob Coffin trims a blowing verse
The way men trim a sail.
The youth has gospel he would preach
To raise the low estate
Of poetry . use men's common speech,
But be sophisticate!
Be unintelligible as birds,
Let clarity be banned!
Bob Coffin speaks his father's words,
His sons will understand.
Young man, your smart, ill-chosen wares
And pretty peddler's talk
Turn trivial in the honest airs
Where men and women walk
A world too huge and clean to flout
Or carry in a sack.
Bob Coffin lets the east wind out
Upon your bric-a-brac.
Through the courtesy of Mrs. James T. Schoolcraft the Library is able to
announce an exhibit of etchings to be on display until the Christmas holidays.
These are the work of Ernest David Roth, N. A., winner of many art prizes, to
whom the first volume in a series of volumes of American etchings was entirely
devoted. Mr. Roth, noteworthy for both technical understanding and craftsman-
ship, has drawn on Italy, France, and New York for his subjects, which are
OTHER NEW BOOKS
THIS IS OUR WORLD, by Paul B. Sears.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, by Carl Van Doren.
INVISIBLE STRIPES, by Lewis (Warden) Lawes.
SECRETS OF AN ART DEALER, by J. H. Duveen.
EAST OF THE GIANTS, by George Stewart.
WAR IN HEAVEN, by Philip Barry.
NINE CHAINS TO THE MOON, by R. Buckminster Fuller.
THIS IS DEMOCRACY, by Marquis Childs.
BOTTICELLI Three fine books of illustrations.
VINCENT VAN GOGH