THE LIBRARY NTE"
Published monthly from October to Je y the
Hamilton Smith Library, of the feity
of New Hampshire
Entered as second-class matter October 10, 1927, at the post office at Dur re, under the
act of August 24, 1912.
Vol. 15 FEBRUARY, 1940 No. 5
AN EPIC OF MODERN SPAIN
IN PLACE OF SPLENDOR, The Autobiography of a Spanish Woman,
by Constancia De La Mora.
Constancia's grandfather was a prime minister of Spain, and in her childhood
she was taught that there were only twenty families in Europe that were the
social equal of hers, but her own girlhood spent in an English school, and her
sympathy for the peasants on her father's estate gave her a leaning toward more
democratic views. This is the story of Spain during the last thirty years and of
the new industrial system that forced out the agrarian landlords and the King
himself, climaxing in the rise and fall of Spanish liberalism and the tragic war
that ended in a Fascist victory. It is also the story of a young woman who grew
up in this changing Spain and how she gave up her family, her fortune and her
girlhood friends to join the Republican cause. As the wife of General Cisneroes,
head of the Loyalist air force, and herself an active worker in the bureau of cen-
sorship, veteran of constant bombings and air raids, she was able to view the war
at first hand and her account of it is one of the best to appear in our language.
It is vivid and personal, and at the same time a remarkably sane and intelligent
book. This democratic daughter of the old aristocracy is writing exciting auto-
biography and important history as well.
"TELL YOUR TALE BEFORE MIDNIGHT"
TALES BEFORE MIDNIGHT, by Stephen Vincent Benet.
To say that Johnny Pye and the Fool Killer is included in this collection
should be recommendation enough for the volume, for the story of Johnny and his
adventures with the scissors grinder will probably become as famous as the one
about Dan'l Webster's argument with the Devil. But Johnny's tale is only one
of a dozen, each so different, but each stamped with the unmistakable, delicate,
restrained Benet writing. "Into Egypt" will remind you of "The Blood of the
Martyrs" from the earlier volume entitled Thirteen O'Clock, for it too is a story
of the land where the State, the Party and concentration camps are grim realities.
You will certainly want to find out what happens to Doc Mellhorn who had an
opportunity to enter the Pearly Gates, but who preferred to take the back road to
Hades and set up a medical practice there. Irishmen will like the leprechaun who
was so lonesome in the old country after most of his village emigrated to America
that he used his pot of gold for passage money and came too. He and Tim
O'Halloran went west and worked on the railroad, and in the end the spell that
had been laid on the leprechaun was broken and he went his own way, but not
without leaving a heritage of luck for the O'Hallorans. And these are but hints
of the variety and charm to be found in Tales Before Midnight.
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BY SEA AND BY AIR
THE CRUISE OF THE RAIDER "WOLF," by Roy Alexander.
Fifteen months at sea without entering a port; this in itself is a record, but
add to it the laying of 458 mines, the capture and sinking of at least fourteen ships,
the running of the British North Sea Blockade twice, and you have a record un-
equaled in maritime or naval history. In 1916 the Raider Wolf left Germany,
ran the blockade, rounded Africa, dodged about the Indian Ocean, the East Indies
and the Pacific, living by piracy on the grand scale. How the Wolf accomplished
these feats of provisioning and fueling at sea, laid the 458 mines and brought home
over four hundred prisoners is told with vividness and restraint by an Australian
seaman who was a prisoner aboard the Wolf for nine months. The Wolf returned
to Kiel on February 24, 1918. This book is more than a "thriller"; it contains
much material on the history of naval warfare which is particularly pertinent to
the present day.
I'LL TAKE THE HIGH ROAD, by Wolfgang Langewiesche.
It will be difficult for all of Mr. Langewiesche's readers to be forever content
with the low road. For here is told just how to start flying-not professional
flying, but common, everyday experience, as if you were learning to drive a car,
and a rented one at that. An amateur flyer, in a style that betrays his profes-
sional achievement, has here given us the story of the growth of private flying in
America. He might well be the typical American amateur flyer; he is interesting
to know, and he flies to interesting places. For those who fear the mechanical,
this book will offer no hazards; for those who know whereof he writes, the details
are here. For folk who have flown, there is a challenge in these pages. And if
you prefer to do your flying from an arm-chair, this is vicarious flight that lets
you feel the glide of the ship.
FOUR SCORE AND TEN
HARDLY A MAN IS NOW ALIVE, by Daniel Carter Beard.
It is rare for any man to be able to look back over a life of ninety years, his
own and his country's, with the sprightly memory "Dan" Beard reveals in his
autobiography. He was a boy of eleven when Lincoln became President and re-
members seeing him drive through the streets of Cincinnati. Because his work
with the Boy Scouts is so well known, he barely touches on this part of his life.
He tells us, instead, of his boyhood days in Ohio and Kentucky, of his failure to
be accepted for Annapolis, of his surveying days with the Sanborn Map Company,
and of his "sixty-one year vacation." Hats off to a grand old man!
YOUNG HENRY GROWS UP
HENRY, KING OF FRANCE, by Heinrich Mann.
Heinrich Mann has written the sequel to his Young Henry of Navarre. The
English edition was in two volumes and one could wish the same of the American
edition. There is great difference of opinion among reviewers about this book;
some feel it is heavy and moves slowly, others that it moves swiftly and smoothly
due to little description and much dialogue. As fiction, some say, there is too much
history and as history it would make better biography! Some feel the characters
are not as well done as the careful and authentic descriptions, while others that
the young people are all they should be (well, nearly all!). However, if you en-
joyed "Young Henry of Navarre" you will surely enjoy following Henry IV
through maturity to his end.
TIME UNDER THE FINGERTIPS
SOMETIME-NEVER, by Clare Leighton.
A small girl eagerly plucks the petals from a daisy and chants, "This year,
next year, sometime, never." What will happen, sometime? It is New Year's
Eve on the mid-Atlantic, and a bonus hour from twelve to twelve carries the author,
depressed with thoughts of the next year, through a wondrous year of her own
imagining. Time does not exist, and she drifts lightly and naturally from impres-
sion to impression, as a butterfly from flower to flower. And such flowers! Lilac
from her childhood in London, fields of narcissi in Provence, and- primroses, call-
ing to mind all manner of birthdays. Mere warmth; smells; a color become sud-
denly a ride across American desert country at night or a day of joyous grape
gathering in Saint Clair. This beauty, this love of nature, characteristic of Clare
Leighton's books, will bring such an awareness and such a desire to reach out and
touch familiar things, as you have never known. The book is ndt long, but it is
bold and alive, and many, many illustrations, satisfactorily charming, are found
PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, by Robert Nathan.
For those who know Robert Nathan, the announcement of a new novel is
enough to start the line forming. For those who don't, how can such a book as
this be described? It's a simple little tale of a young artist who painted a great
portrait. The scene is the New York that Mr. Nathan can present so charm-
ingly, and the time is approximately now. At least there is last season's hurri-
cane, although the book is signed from Truro in 1949. That need not bother you,
for Time is under Mr. Nathan's finger it would seem, and that permits us to meet
Jennie: to meet and know her, and with Eben to watch her grow, and grow our-
selves to love her as he did. Perhaps that is why his portrait of her became so
famous; it captured for all the timelessness that was Jennie's own. We don't
ask you to try to understand this little book; it is enough, after all, to enjoy it.
REVERBERATIONS OF THE CIVIL WAR
BRIDE OF A THOUSAND CEDARS, by Bruce Lancaster and 'L, Brentano.
We have had so many Civil War novels with the war-torn South as a back-
ground, that it is a welcome change to find the scene of Bride of a Thousand Cedars
laid in the sun-drenched isles of Bermuda. Shortly before the outbreak of the
War, Sally Cottrell returns to Mullet Bay from a visit to New York, enamoured
of the Yankees and their way of living. She is decidedly out of patience with
the shabby gentility of her family and many of her friends. After the fall of
Sumpter, the islands are transformed from their drowsy complacency to bustling
activity. Trevor Wyeth becomes a blockade runner and has amazing luck in
eluding the Yankees until Cutshaw takes his mean revenge. But it takes more
than a blockade to stop Sally when her mind is made up. This is not as powerful
a novel as Guns of Burgoyne, but the action is swift and if you can read about
Maude Prosser's call upon Mrs. Cottrell without a mild case of hysterics, we are
sorry for you.
"A BRIGHT PLACE IN THE SUN"
JACK LONDON AND HIS TIMES, by Joan London.
Although Joan, Jack London's daughter, thinks her father held a "bright
place in the sun" she seems to have written an excellent biography of him. It is
simple, honest, and unprejudiced. One closes the book feeling that he himself
has known Jack London.
A SYMBOL OF INTEGRITY
THE SEA-TOWER, by Hugh Walpole.
Bessie Field was little and quaint, resembling Queen Victoria at first glimpse;
her family affectionately called her "Old Lady." There was no softness in her
being, however. She molded the household at Scarlett with overwhelming kind-
ness, into her own pattern. Not so much the old house, with its Tower, but they
that dwelt therein, for she completely dominated and controlled the lives of her
little world. Completely, that is, until the younger son, Joe, came back from his
first trip away from home with his bride, Christine, young and incredibly beau-
tiful. It was her beauty, at first, and afterward, her integrity of spirit, that
challenged the strength of Mrs. Field's control of. them all. The inevitable clash
of wills, and the solution that had to be reached, might well have been wearisome
repetition of an old story, but in the hands of Hugh Walpole, the treatment is new
and real. Mr. Walpole knows his English scene well, and human beings perhaps
better. His solution is no bizarre or mysterious one; it reads as if taken from
the quiet pages of everyday life.
A THOUGHT-PROVOKING BOOK
ART IS ACTION, by Baker Brownell.
This book, by a well-known author and lecturer, states that art is not a fine
art, not a thing expressing beauty or life, valued for what it can make an observer
or listener feel. Rather, it is a folk art, an action, valued for the immediate
pleasure it gives the doer. "Objects of Art," says Mr. Brownell, "are only sym-
bols, second-hand art." His ideas are totally unsophisticated, disapproving of
man's superficialities and recommending a more natural life, with an eye to en-
joying the beauties of the present instead of catering to the fears of the future.
He seems to have thoughts on every conceivable subject from interpretive dancing
to cooking. While his ideas may never become practicable, his book has charm
and reveals a wise philosophic background. If you like a thought-provoking book,
-this is assuredly it.
A BOOK FOR THE FAMILY CIRCLE
BAMBI'S CHILDREN, by Felix Salten.
Twelve years ago, the book Bambi made its appearance. It is the story of a
forest deer and only people who condemn all books in which animals, birds and
even trees are endowed with the power of speech, failed to appreciate its gentle
charm. In Bambi's Children, Geno and Gurri are often a trial to Faline, their
mother, but they are very proud to have Bambi for their father and really try to
make him proud of them. Perri, the squirrel who has a book all her own, scamp-
ers in and out of the pages and the other forest folk are engaging and plentiful.
Mr. Salten manages to impart a great deal of nature-lore along with the story
and it is a splendid "read aloud" book.
OTHER NEW BOOKS
AMERICA FACES SOUTH, by T. R. Ybarra.
FOLK SONGS OF OLD NEW ENGLAND, by Eloise Linscott.
BLOSSOM LIKE THE ROSE, by Norah Lofts.
TAR HEEL EDITOR, by Josephus Daniels.
BELGIUM, by Hugh Gibson.
THE LIVING TRADITION, by Simeon Strunsky.
FREEDOM AND CULTURE, by John Dewey. .- lr
TO STEP ASIDE, by Noel Coward.