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The Book Forum
FORTHRIGHT and responsible nov-story of farm life in horse-and-buggy days. The savor and bustle of a Ladies' Aid picnic, the country school, and a little girl in love with the teacher begin the chronicle of the Miller family. There is an interlude in town, where plush sofa, tasseled lambrequin and a "throw" for the piano can't convert Pa Miller into a businessman. Farming is in his bones, and with the farm again the cycle ends. This is as authentic Americana as the whatnot or the family photograph album.
elist that she is, Dorothy Canfield translates, in Seasoned Timber, a world problem into homely, familiar terms. Her scene is a little Vermont town where Timothy Hulme, principal of an academy for boys and girls, is about to reach out toward happiness and love. Then suddenly the question of anti-Semitism is deliberately, maliciously raised by a wealthy trustee of the academy, who leaves his fortune to the school provided it will bar Jews and abandon the whole democratic tradition that the town has sturdily built up.
Timothy stands firm and, with him, a group of hard-headed, independent Vermonters. Their struggle with easy, unthinking intolerance is a warning and a prophecy and a hope. Timothy's own story of sacrifice and heartbreak flows in and out of the narrative, making it full. This is no flat parable Dorothy Canfield has written. It is a fine, strong, rounded novel, enriched with her learning and her keen sense of what stirs men's hearts and minds.
ONE of New York's slums bears the descriptive name of Hell's Kitchen. Its poverty and crime, its peculiar jargon, and its terrible vitality are the stuff Benjamin Appel has made into novels but never with such effect as in The Power House.
The story is of Bill Trent and his progress from petty crook to "big shot" of a strikebreaking gang that is part of the political-criminal machine, the "power house." Through all his activities in New York and in the steel town where he takes his finks to break the union, Trent unrolls a fantastic, gruesome, but always credible picture of an organized underworld. There is an almost unbearable tension in the book and a compassion that carries it far beyond the reach of merely hard-boiled
DAVID RAME is a talented young South African who gives, in Wine of Good Hope, a singularly appealing picture of his homeland. Although the scene shifts to other parts of the world, the rich vineyard country of the Cape is a persistent back-writing. ground to the life of young Tony Lemaire, who wanders in search of his missing father to strange, violent places. Love and family conflicts and adventure make up the tale, which has about it a very pleasant mixture of innocence and sophistication.
WE'VE been waiting to throw our cap over the mill for Edwin Lanham and now we can do it. The Stricklands is a grand book.
There was old Crosby Strickland who cradled his corn whisky high in a treetop while it aged; his son Pat, gentle and careless and always in a fix that wasn't
THE kind of English novel that
tion with the great financier who is his
exactly of his own making; Pat's gallant Other Titles for Your
wife, Belle; and the other son, Jay, patient, heroic, intent on organizing and prodding the Oklahoma tenant farmers out of their isolated wretchedness.
Shrewdly, Mr. Lanham has focused the action in Pat, while making the essential story the strength and tragedy and hope-all Jay's. The result is something so close to reality you almost believe you saw it in the headlines. Pat is arrested as a bank robber, escapes from jail, is pursued across two States, is nearly trapped again and again. Jay, meanwhile, keeps working and building a thing that is fine and solid for others, even out of his own sorrows and loss.
GOOD old-fashioned hammock reading is Full Harvest, by Dora Aydelotte, a
George V. Denny, Jr.
founder and moderator of "America's Town Meeting of the Air," famous radio hour, and president of Town Hall, New York, each month will conduct CURRENT HISTORY's newest editorial feature a thought-provoking department entitled: "What's YOUR Opinion?"
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CURRENT HISTORY is proud to make this contribution to the task of keeping our people informed on controversial questions of the hour. Sooner or later the American people must settle these questions with their votes. CURRENT HISTORY therefore presents
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The Book Forum
The Land Is Bright, by Archie Binns (Scribner, $2.50). Across the plains along the Oregon Trail with a sturdy, courageous lot of pioneers.
Sirocco, by Ralph Bates (Random House, $2.50). A group of extraordinarily fine short stories about Spain before and during the civil war.
Bitter Creek, by James Boyd (Scribner, $2.50). Life in the cow country at its shootingest, told with wit and an undercurrent of serious reflection.
Drums at Dusk, by Arna Bontemps (Macmillan, $2.50). A young Negro's sensitive story of Haiti and its slave rebellion.
Here Lies, by Dorothy Parker (Viking, $3.00). Her collected short stories - and they are worth collecting.
The Middle Passage, by Roland Barker & William Doerflinger (Macmillan, $2.50). Rip-roaring adventure in the days of African slave trading, done with an eye to the sensibilities.
Rope of Gold, by Josephine Herbst (Harcourt, Brace, $2.50). A vivid reenactment of five depression years and what they did to rich and poor all over America. Excellent storytelling, plus sharp reportage of farm problems, strikes, labor espionage, politics.
The Middle Window, by Elizabeth Goudge (Coward-McCann, $2.50). A romantic tale of the Scottish Highlands, now and two hundred years ago - deft and charming.
The Patriot, by Pearl S. Buck (Day, $2.50). The powerful story of a young Chinese, his Japanese wife, and the present war.
Tryst, by Elswyth Thane (Harcourt, Brace, $2.00). A ghost story but one that, swelp us, goes down like velvet. Also love and an ancient house and a secret agent.
The Sword in the Stone, by T. H. White (Putnam, $2.50). A rollicking, streamlined King Arthur and his knights, with additions and improvements.
Valedictory, by MacKinlay Kantor (Coward-McCann, $1.00). A novelette about a lovable old school janitor, in the mood of Mr. Chips.
Ordeal, by Nevil Shute (Morrow, $2.50). Wherein England is bombed during the next war and a man has to decide whether to fight or see his family through. Imaginative, restrained writing.
The Book Forum
The Young Cosima, by Henry Handel Richardson (Norton, $2.50). The stormy career of the girl who was Liszt's daughter, von Bülow's wife, Wagner's mistress -fiction in the grand manner.
Passport for a Girl, by Mary Borden (Harper, $2.50). The way international politics puts up frontiers between an English girl and the Austrian boy she loves. One of the best of the timely novels.
Fiesta in Manhattan, by Charles Kaufman (Morrow, $2.50). The misadventures of two guileless Mexican musicians in New York. Excellent picture of the Spanish-speaking section of Harlem.
The Night Is Coming, by Marthedith Furnas (Harper, $2.50). Portrait, on a big canvas, of a remarkable woman in the days when the Middle West was growing up.
Jubal Troop, by Paul I. Wellman (Carrick & Evans, $2.75). Adventures with a Paul Bunyan flavor of a man who had a fling at everything the Old West had to offer. Brisk and easy to take.
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VOL. CII, NO. 1
Clean Up, America!
OT THE LEAST STRIKING impression that visitors carry away from the World's Fair in New York is urban cleanliness. Nowhere else in the United States are there so many streets free of refuse and litter. However dirty and unkempt and heaped with ashes, junked cars, or broken bottles the railroad approaches to the Fair may be, within the barriers all is clean and in order. Within the Fair one sees no crumpled newspapers, no empty tin cans, no scrawny cats perched on parapets; not one of the ten thousand flowers that bloom in the borders is plucked. We hope that the World of Tomorrow may indeed be a world where people have time to put away their litter.
We of New York are already somewhat familiar with the possibilities of cleanliness in our public places, if not in our private back yards.
Now for several years Park Commissioner Moses has given us the demonstration of Jones Beach, our palatial public bathing club, and the beautiful parkways that lead to it. The saga of the day Jones Beach was opened, of the aged lady who was fined five dollars for leaving a newspaper on the sand, has left a profound impression on the public.
In New York City also, Park Avenue in recent years has assumed the reposeful outlines of a Paris or a Stockholm. The Department of Sanitation has posted its appeals for
a clean city and put out its seductive wire baskets; several private cleanliness associations have sprung up; and, only the other day, the press published a photograph of a society matron with a broom sweeping up the leftovers from a flower market in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
HERE AND THERE, in other parts of the country, the consciousness of cleanup is making the United States look to a foreigner less like a vast public dump or gigantic back yard. Antibillboard associations in some States have made a visible inroad on the monstrous signs that prevent tourists from seeing the beauties of nature.
But the junk heaps that litter the approaches to most small towns persist, as well as the dumps of dead autos that pile up on any bit of wasteland. Nor does the ugliness of the average filling station and refreshment stand engender a spirit of orderliness in a people surrounded by such lesions of civilization. And our railroads do not help. The dinginess of the typical wayside railroad station is a shocking contrast to stations in England and Scandinavia, swept and freshly painted and fringed with flower beds. What irony that a people as smart and meticulous in dress and personal habits as Americans should have such a blind