THE LIBRARY EA ERN
Published monthly from er to June b t
Hamilton Smith Libriry, o e Un rsi
of New e
Entered as second-class matter October 10, 1927, at the post o am, New Hampshire, under the
act of August 24, 1912.
Vol. 15 MAY, 1940 No. 8
AS THE YEW TREE WITHERS -
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, by Richard Llewellyn.
Within this book a thousand men will read,
Not knowing why they do it, or why the tales
Of dead men's lives should serve a living need.
But when Huw Morgan was a boy in Wales,
And golden-sovereigned plenty ebbed away
Out of the miners' homes, when the yew tree bough
Blackened and died as slag heaps grew the play
Of hunger and love went on, the same as now.
Bron, sweet in lavender, and Ceinwein lying
Under his first caress like Eve herself;
The strikers met at night; his father, dying
But gallant, on a coal mine's crumbled shelf,
Were Huw's alone: but good green land gone sterile
And black for greed, too many men have known;
Prayed for the sons emperiled with their peril,
And dispossessed, like Huw, gone forth alone.
THE ELMS PUT FORTH NEW LEAVES
NEW ENGLAND COMES BACK, by Lawrence Dame.
There are some who think that New England began to wither with the pass-
ing of Emerson and that it has never been the same since. If you agree with that
viewpoint and if you cherish it, don't go near this book. It will convince you
that New England did fall with a definite thud-in the 1930's-but that it takes
more than an economic depression to stop the Yankees. According to Mr. Dame,
there is plenty of spirit still abroad in the six northeast-corner states, and in
proving it he tells stories and cites cases enough to fill a fair-sized volume. Not
content with shoulder patting and sentimentalism, Mr. Dame accepts the fact that
New England suffered a terrific blow when cotton mills moved south and other
industries slumped, but he takes a Yankee's delight in showing how his native
region adjusted itself to the situation, and has shaken the defeatist attitude from
its mind. When Manchester's Amoskeag Mills, which at one time employed
18,000 people, had to close its doors in 1935, there seemed to be nothing ahead but
tragedy. But Yankees don't let times like that get them down. Today more than
60 small companies have set up their plants in the old Amoskeag buildings. "Even
Horatio Alger could not have created a success story like that of Manchester,"
says Mr. Dame. Stories of similar diversification are told by the dozen-a bobbin
factory which lost its market and now concentrates on lollipop sticks, a former
stagecoach concern which today turns out the smartest baby carriages in the coun-
try. Particularly interesting among the stories told of the ingenuity and skill
to be found in New Hampshire, is the account of the University Engineering Ex-
periment Station's contributions to state industry.
t4 !j AV?) Ivo.
AXE INTO PLOWSHARE
THE TREES, by Conrad Richter.
After the many ponderous tomes that have appeared recently in the field of
historical fiction, this little book brings to the reader that enjoyment and sense of
relief to be found in sound workmanship in small things. Faithfully written in
the idiom of the people it is concerned with, this is a novel that presents briefly
a pioneer family that makes no attempt to attain heroic stature nor any permanent
niche in history. "It was the game that fetched the Lucketts out of Pennsylvania."
It was as simple as that. Jary had come because her husband, Worth, looked for
a woods famine that year; "like nothing since the second winter after Yorktown,
he claimed." And she died soon after their arrival among the giant trees of the
Northwest Territory, so it was Sayward, the oldest of the five children, who had
to keep the family together. Sayward is an unassuming addition to the gallery
of brave women who have figured in the history of our country. It was she who
lived to see farm land cleared out of the great tree country, and the wilderness gone
forever. "Oh, it was hard, beating back the woods . But life was sweet some-
times, too ... You had to take the one with the other, for that was the way it ran."
LIGHT THROUGH THE SYCAMORES
THE WABASH, by William E. Wilson.
"To know America, you have to take a good, long look at the Wabash River."
On this premise Mr. Wilson has built a tale; the incidents and stories he recounts
prove it a sound theory. LaSalle discovers the Wabash; George Rogers Clark and
his band of men take Vincennes for the new United States; Tecumseh sees his plans
fail at Tippecanoe, but that successful campaign of William Henry Harrison puts
that inglorious soldier into the White House; Utopia fails at New Harmony; In-
diana comes in a free state; Abe Lincoln grows up; the river business flourishes;
the people suffer growing pains; the Battle of Corydon, that other Civil War battle
besides Gettysburg above the Mason and Dixon line, is over; the Ku Klux Klan
rides; Debs opposes our entrance into the World War. That is the Wabash in
history. Yet, the Wabash is "something more than topography, history and
statistics. It is rather, the things a Hoosier remembers when he hears that magic
name." And these are legion. At first we feel a need to discount the spell of
this book, for "first" and "biggest" are words that loom large in the Hoosier's
vocabulary, but the River and Mr. Wilson prevail. This latest of the Rivers of
America series should be read for its own merit; it may well hold a high place in
the reminiscent and nostalgic literature relating to America.
HER LEAF SHALL NOT WITHER
DAYS OF MY LIFE, by Flo V. Menninger.
It is a salvation that people continue to turn up who have had interesting
lives and who, besides, have remembered a lot, observed a lot, and know how to
tell about it. Mrs. Menninger has had a thrifty, full, severe life, which she began
on a Pennsylvania farm, at the time of the Civil War, the first of eight children.
Her descriptions of the hardy farm life are delightful. The Dutch people from
which she came learned never to waste anything, actually making their own furni-
ture, sheets, everything they needed. There was the day devoted to making apple
butter for the winter, and the day that was spent until late at night preparing all
the meat they would need. Apples were buried, grapes sealed at the stems and
hung in the attic. This would keep them fresh even until Thanksgiving. Later,
her family, as well as some of her cousins, all migrated to Kansas to settle. There
was little laughter, only work and hard-earned achievement, but it produced a con-
tent, much-loved woman, who is interested in everything from her family to her
country. Here is a new story of the building of America and an American.
DECADE, by Stephen Longstreet.
THE STORM BREAKS, by Frederick T. Birchall.
SINCE YESTERDAY, by Frederick L. Allen.
Writers in troublous times are apt to reflect the pressing issues of the day or
the prevailing fears and doubts. Among our books this month we have what might
be called a trilogy.
We have in Decade a novel, a harsh, swift, brittle kaleidoscopic panorama of
the Rowlandson family and the people and events crossing their lives through the
Second: in The Storm Breaks Mr. Birchall, a newspaper man, gives his ac-
count of Europe in 1929-39. His first chapter "The Pleasant Europe of Democ-
racy" describes the centers of Europe as their friends knew and loved them; a
Europe which is not now. Then steadily he builds block upon block until the
structure topples; that is, he picks the dramatic events and ideas which piled one
upon the other proved our undoing and tragedy. There is "The False Dawn of
Disarmament"; "The Last Gasp of the League"; "Czecho-Slovak Tragedy" and
"Another Scrap of Paper" and finally "Democracy Stands but Poland Falls." And
the end is not yet.
Since Yesterday; the Nineteen Thirties in America is in content and form very
much like Allen's Only Yesterday. Having left off with the stockmarket rise and
crash in his first book he begins his new book at this point. This rise and fall seems
to typify the speed of today. In this age of speed, at the time of going, whither we
go and how is difficult to see, and so Mr. Allen's book gives us a proper perspective;
it is helpful in understanding the breaking storm in Europe, as well. Taken to-
gether these three books make a splendid review of ten potent years.
READING MAKETH A FULL MAN
HOW TO READ A BOOK, by Mortimer J. Adler.
"I like to think of the great books," says the author, "as involved in a pro-
longed conversation about the basic problems of mankind." From this point of
view, who can afford to miss them? If you have always been afraid of them, it
will reassure you to be told that the great books were written for the common
people. If you have thought them dull, it was probably because you didn't know
how to get at the gist of them. This book will tell you how. The rules for
analyzing a book, for interpreting its contents, for criticizing its conclusions, are
perfectly simple and clear. It accomplishes the liberation of the mind, which is
closely associated with man's political freedom. "We want happiness and a good
society. In this larger view, reading is only a means to an end."
WORLD MADE BY BROMFIELD
IT TAKES ALL KINDS, by Louis Bromfield.
Cigar chewing, paunchy, ruthless, pleasant racketeers; day dreaming, old-
school, little old ladies; voluptuous, breezy, big-hearted women; down-at-the-heels
gentlemen; and just ordinary, ambitious young people. What happens when
such different bits of humanity are brought together, believing different beliefs,
dreaming different dreams? That is what Mr. Bromfield endeavors to find out,
and he does so with enthusiasm and insight. It Takes All Kinds is a series of
nine stories, shifting in locale from romantic, nineteenth century New York, to the
langorous Far East; from a bustling, dusty town in the Southwest, to the extra-
vagantly fascinating Riviera. Here is a marvelous versatility, proved beyond
doubt. It is Bromfield at his best.
BY THEIR GADGETS SHALL YE KNOW THEM
THE GOOD OLD DAYS, by David L. Cohn.
Who has not at some time carried off that fascinating friend of the family,
the Sears Roebuck catalogue, to peruse and dream of the things it describes? Have
you ever thought, too, how well this same catalogue depicts our life and customs?
That is what Mr. Cohn thought as he looked through faded copies graced with
ads for organs at $51.95, and black cars that could be had with either red or green
gear, bettering Henry Ford, whose cars were all black. Here he found the whole
story of rural American life, and he set out to describe life as he remembered it,
from 1890 to the present day. Proof of the tastes of each decade was evident in
the bathing suits, literature, toothbrushes, corsets, and watches that filled page after
page. The author went further, digging out the causes of these fluctuations of taste.
He quotes speeches, articles, and the catalogues themselves, highly embellishing
them with comments of his own. While he is guilty of distorting the truth, to add
humor to what would be, after all, only a dull history, he has not destroyed any
of the picture of the sincere, God-fearing, autoless, radioless, people half of us have
been and the rest of us have known.
OTHER GODS, by Pearl S. Buck.
The theme of this novel is a familiar one to Americans. An unknown lad
performs a feat and suddenly finds himself America's Number One Hero. Bert
Holm, young mechanic with a meteorological expedition to the Himalayas, climbs
Therat alone when the party is forced to abandon its objective because of the ill-
ness of one of its members. An American reporter in Calcutta gets the story,
flashes it to America and Bert becomes the idol of millions of Americans groping
for something tangible to worship in a world seemingly gone awry. The fact that
his parents are simple farm folk only serves to intensify the public's admiration.
Bert, tall, blond and handsome, meets Kit Tallant in Peking on his way home. Kit
is refined, dark, the dreamy type loving solitude, but she is suffering over a broken
engagement and marries Bert before they sail for America. You know what Amer-
ica does to its heroes and Bert Holm is no exception. The book is a sympathetic
interpretation of the reaction of the young couple, so unlike, to the resulting situation
and a clever picture of the American public. You may be reminded of J. B.
Priestley's Wonder Hero which appeared some years ago, but this book has more
depth, though it is not Mrs. Buck's ablest by any means. It appeared in con-
densed form as a serial with the title An American Legend.
POESIES AND PERSONALITIES
BOUQUETS AND BITTERS, by Julian R. Meade.
The author calls this book A Gardener's Medley. He is a gardener himself,
of no mean reputation, but fortunately he has never lost his sense of humor as so
many gardeners do. While he usually calls plants and shrubs by their botanical
names, he can feel sympathetic for the person who is fixed by the fanatical eye of
an earnest gardener who says in an awesome voice, "My dear, you should see my
Symphoricarpos Racemosus," while you frantically endeavor to decide what inno-
cent flower or shrub hides under such an outlandish name. Mr. Meade writes of
the gardens he sees from Maine to Hollywood while he is lecturing or just visit-
ing gardens. You may be surprised to learn that some of your favorite movie
stars and authors are ardent gardeners. Edna Ferber, Dorothy Dix, Edna St.
Vincent Millay, Myrna Loy, Norma Shearer and Errol Flynn are some of the
personalities you meet in their gardens. Attractive illustrations by John O'Hara