Published monthly from Oct
Hamilton Smith Library
of New Ha
Entered as second-class matter October 10, 1927, at the
act of August W,,-
jnoire. under the
Vol. 16 APRIL, 1 No. 7
MORE LETTERS FROM fIED
AND BEACONS BURN AGAIN, by Henry Jesson.
The title for this little book of letters comes from a Housman poem about
Victoria's jubilee. The beacons burning in England now are more like the flares
that lighted Queen Elizabeth when she paced the south coast in her high-heeled
slippers and watched for the Armada. Henry Jesson, a talented young actor
studying drama on Long Island, returned to England because of the death of
his father just about the time the war broke out. These are the letters he wrote
back to friends in America during the first year of the war, and they are almost
a history of the changes that came about in the daily life of London during that
period. They are a history, too, of the London theater during increasing crisis,
though Mr. Jesson himself has transferred from the stage to the training camp.
But it is in their philosophy that they carry a really important message to Amer-
ica. "Stay out of the war," he advises us. It is America's part to preserve
art and science all the best in civilization.
TO A CLASS WRITING AN EXAMINATION
If you can say that London yet abides,
"And all that mighty heart" not truly still,
With ships at anchor on the eastern tides,
And on the west the path of Pippin Hill;-
If you can deem that Picardy is fair,
And Norman roads a passage to the heart,
And Paris is a perfume in the air
That time and tempest cannot blow apart;-
If unto you remains some loveliness
Of Europe's dream, of pollards all a-row
By inland channels where the water-cress
Brushes the sides of barges laden low,-
O you on whom no sword has fallen yet,-
Write fair those names that you must not forget!
Donald C. Babcock.
v. x N0.
CAN THE SOUL BE DESTROYED?
TO SING WITH THE ANGELS, by Maurice Hindus.
"We wanted to sing with the angels,
now we must howl with the wolves."
Lidove Noviny, Praha, October 1, 1938
The massacred students of the Czech University in Praha have in this book
an outspoken and forceful memorial. In the mind and hearts of such youths
may live the sole hope for nation after nation that has gone down before the
goosestep of Hitler's men. Only the youth of such countries can preserve their
national faiths and fight with whatever means come to their hand. Hindus holds
out to us the girl Annichka in this capacity. She is the storm center of the book,
and embodies the lovely, quaint folk life of Czechoslovakia which must draw up-
on unsuspected strength to withstand the deliberate degradation by the Nazi op-
pressors. Josef Liebergut, the new Nazi convert, is the would-be intellectual
who sincerely accepts the resonant, but empty promises of Hitler. Losing faith
in his new religion he finds himself hopelessly caught by the Gestapo. Only theo
calculating Frick can hold his own in the graft and machinations of the Party.
By no means the horrible expose as Out of the Night, this book shows the
deliberate betrayal in all senses of family life and neighborly friendship. The
common people of Germany suffer as well as the conquered. This perhaps is the
most understandable of all the tales that will for years come from countries cen-
sored off the map. We shall rage and weep, but we shall hope.
A DISAPPEARING CRAFT
AMERICAN FIGUREHEADS AND THEIR CARVERS,
by Pauline A. Pinckney.
Do you have a ship's carver in your family tree instead of the traditional
skeleton in the closet? If so, you will be doubly interested in this book. Amer-
ican ship carving was one craft little influenced by foreign traditions. The model
of the vessel was an important factor in determining the design to be used, also
the name, and the fact that a carver had to avoid leaving places where water might
lodge as the vessel cut its way through foaming seas.
Miss Pinckney traces the development of the craft in chronological order, but
the records are amazingly incomplete, even for such distinguished carvers as
William Rush of Philadelphia, the Skillins of Boston, William Deering and John
Bellamy of Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Samuel Mclntire
who achieved such fame as an architect and cabinetmaker, was also a ship carver
of note. The designs chosen for figureheads of Navy ships were often the sub-
ject of heated controversies, especially the one of Andrew Jackson, carved for the
frigate CONSTITUTION. American Figureheads and Their Carvers, is a valuable
addition to the literature recording our American folk arts.
OH, TO BE IN IRELAND!
AN IRISH JOURNEY, by Sean O'Faolain.
Sean O'Faolain has given us a book: it is Ireland; it is the Irish; it is moods,
temperament, recaptured childhood impressions; it is old tales; it is history. All
is woven together with a skill and delicacy 'that lifts one "far from the adding
crowd" and the war until one seems to drift along as through beautiful country-
sides on a smoothly flowing river. It makes one homesick for Ireland whether
or not one has ever been there. It is and is not a travel book and is beautifully
illustrated by Paul Henry who also went on the journey.
"DEAD MEN ON FURLOUGH"
OUT OF THE NIGHT, by Jan Valtin.
This much-discussed book, topping the best-seller lists the country over, has
been called "The Uncle Tom's Cabin of our time." The comparison needs to be
explained. In exposing the cruelties practiced on innocent people in Nazi prison
camps, the author arouses so violent a horror that we are scarcely capable of
sympathy at the same time. But this is only in the latter part of the book, after
he is caught and imprisoned in Germany as an enemy of Nazism. The earlier
part relates the tale of underground Communist activities all over the world -
not the story of oppressed people, but of the agitators who are trying to "liber-
ate" them by violence. There may be ideals, Christian ideals, in the Communist
philosophy, but in practice there is only hate, betrayal, spying on comrades, and
sensual indulgence. The price of party membership is the loss of one's soul. The
great leaders of the world, on the contrary, have been ascetics. They have loved
mankind, and it is a truism that only thus can man lead his fellows. If this book
does nothing else it reveals the kind of people who proselyte Communism.
"OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES..."
MY SISTER AND I, by Dirk van der Heide.
This is the diary of a twelve year old Dutch boy who lived through the five-
day blitzkrieg in Holland. On the way to America with his nine year old sister,
Keetje, Dirk was persuaded to write this more detailed account of his experi-
ences when his homeland was invaded by the Germans. His story begins with
happenings in Rotterdam on May 7, 1940, when all soldiers' vacations were can-
celed. Three days later, Dirk writes, "Something terrible happened last night.
War began." My Sister and I is filled with humor, pathos, and a courage which
scarcely seems possible in such a small child.
"HYMAN KAPLAN AND OTHER AMERICANS, INC."
SHORT STORIES FROM THE NEW YORKER.
It is seldom that we have so obvious an occasion to call an entire group of
stories excellent. Like any good collection, these are extremely varied in char-
acter and purpose, each one bringing to the reader new people and their individ-
ual ways of living. The highly discriminate selecting by its staff is what has
made stories from The New Yorker's pages so popular. The stories are not
exactly about New York people. They are about people anywhere, young people,
tired people, happy people, selfish people. All parade by, a short glimpse for
each, just long enough to recognize them as familiar. It is this very feeling
of the people's lives going on after we have stopped reading about them, that
makes us plunge on into another episode, and another.
MY NAME IS ARAM, by William Saroyan.
Some kinds of humor result from the use of gross exaggeration and the fan-
tastic, but the most telling is that which highlights facts particularly the in-
consistencies of the human race. These fourteen individual sketches have the
pungency of the cartoonist. Here, in words, are the simple, sure lines of a Low.
William Saroyan recreates the world of Fresno, California, in 1915 to 1925 A. D.
as seen through the eyes of an Armenian lad, Aram Garoghlanian. The comic
elements and weaknesses of humanity are universal. Tom Sawyer would have
recognized a kindred soul; but the objective observation and its expression are
typically Armenian. Perhaps only descendants of century-old races can attain
that philosophical whimsy that runs as an undercurrent even in the thoughts of
the young. Each sketch is of equal interest and humor and leaves our appetite
whetted for more.
UNCLE SAM GUARDIAN
AS LONG AS THE GRASS SHALL GROW, by Oliver La Farge.
Few citizens of the United States realize their duty and responsibility as
guardian to about 220,000 Indians. Oliver La Farge, who is well acquainted with
tribes in all parts of the United States, presents a clear picture of the treatment
of the American Indian from the time he was overcome by the white settlers up
to the present. La Farge is especially sarcastic in describing the way white men
have kept their promises to the Indian. Hence the title, As Long as the Grass
Shall Grow. It is a plea for justice for a people who developed their own culture
and called America "home" long before the United States was formed. Photo-
graphs and word pictures describe the Indian at three stages in his existence:
(1) life prior to the coming of the white man; (2) life at the lowest point when
he is completely overrun by the white people; and (3) life in very recent years
as more people in Washington realize the state of Indian affairs. This book will
help the citizen to realize that the Indian's chief desire is to learn the skills of
the white man, but to retain his own culture.
GOD BLESS THE DEVIL!
You never can tell just what a Writers' Program will bring forth. God Bless
the Devil is a collection of folk tales and whoppers published by the Writers' Pro-
gram of Tennessee. Here are twenty-five of the tallest stories ever to be repeated
and put into print. There are stories of horse races, duels, preachers, hunting
dogs, possums, milk snakes, witches, and almost anything you can imagine (and
even some you can't). You'll chuckle over these tales. Believe them?
WATCH YOUR STEP!
STONE OF CHASTITY, by Margery Sharp.
Here's a delightful book by witty Margery Sharp. If you have enjoyed her
Harlequin House or The Nutmeg Tree, you'll love this clever story of Professor
Pounce and his experiments. An old Norse legend states that the "Stone of
Chastity" was one of a series of stepping stones in a brook in Gillenham, a small,
isolated, English village. If a woman could cross the brook and not fall off that
stone, she was a lady. Slumbering Gillenham awoke with a bang after the Pro-
fessor had discovered "the stone." He distributed questionnaires about it and
brazenly tacked a huge poster on the church door inviting all the "good ladies of
the village" to take the test of chastity. The good ladies decided that the poster
had an ambiguous significance. They armed themselves with the intention of
"fixing" the Professor, but ended by attempting to cross the brook. The results
were not exactly what Gillenham, its minister, or the Professor expected.
TO THE INDIES, by C. S. Forester.
Here is a novel telling of Columbus' third voyage to the New World, made
in 1498, from which he returned broken, disgraced and in chains. We see the
Admiral an ill man most of the time, except when there was an especially dan-
gerous and difficult bit of water to be navigated. However, the central figure of
the story is not Columbus, but a middle-aged Spanish lawyer, Don Narcisco Rich,
who was sent by Ferdinand to investigate the Admiral's actions as viceroy. The
lawyer encountered many adventures, some of which made him wish for his quiet
life at home. The one which will linger longest in your memory will be the
fight with the crocodile on the delta, when the sailors landed on the northeast
coast of South America, after discovering and naming the island of Trinidad.