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THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE POWERS. Published by the Council on Foreign Relations. Harper & Brothers, New York: 1935. 161 pages. $1.50.
This book consists of articles on the fundamental foreign policies of their respective countries, by Jules Cambon, Richard von Kuhlmann, Sir Austen Chamberlain, Dino Grandi, Viscount Ishii, Karl Radek, and John W. Davis. The articles first appeared in the American quarterly Foreign Affairs.
Regarding their contents, one might perhaps advance the paradox that the last place to study a nation's foreign policy is in the statements of its diplomats. Their truths are likely to be platitudes; their reticences more pregnant than their revelations; their real significance to be found only by diligent reading between the lines. Even if written with entire frankness, the essays are likely to express the views of the writer rather than the policies actually dominant at the moment. Does Viscount Ishii, for instance, voice the aims of present-day Japan? Or Herr von Kuhlmann those of Nazi Germany today?
Nevertheless, these essays have a great value, each the work of a master in his field, each a wise and skillful presentation of one nation's interests, or point of view.
Through them, also—and this will serve as a suggestion of their contents—run certain common ideas. Thus nearly all stress the aim of “national security,” though for one nation this may mean merely peaceful possession of her own generous share of the world’s goods, for another rectification of frontiers, and for another occupation “in sheer self-preservation” of some one else’s territory. Equilibrium, the old balance of power, is still generally depended upon as the best assurance of peace. Several essays emphasize the importance of geographical position in shaping foreign policies, though, as Karl Radek points out, a nation’s economic interests and political structure may be quite as vital factors. One gathers, finally, that maintenance of the status quo, which as Dino Grandi says was at the bottom of both the “apocalyptical idealogy” of Wilson and the “reactionary spirit” of Clemenceau at Versailles, is going to be a difficult business in this rapidly changing world. What about an Italy “of 42 million souls, which will number 50 million in another fifteen years . . . lacking raw materials and natural resources to meet vital needs”? What of a Germany that wants “a solution of the Austrian question, satisfactory to all concerned”? What of a Japan whose population, congestion, and lack of raw materials are such that “Manchuria, with its virgin soil and its immense natural resources, has come to be regarded as her vital protection”?
CANNIBAL COUSINS. By Captain John Houston Craige, U.S. Marine Corps. New York: Minton, Balch & Co. 1934. $2.75.
Reviewed by Colonel H. C. Reisinger, U. S. Marine Corps
This book, like its companion piece, Black Bagdad, should be read and digested by every officer of the Navy and Marine Corps who may look forward some day to a tour of duty in tropical America. Many officers have had this experience; they have served in the tropics conscious of the charm and beauty of their surroundings, conscious of an intangible something that they did not understand that lies behind the curtain of racial difference—education, environment, and history. Here is the book that tears aside that curtain. Many charming books have been published on the Caribbean republics and the nations of the Central American mainland; usually they are in the form of travelogues touching lightly upon the experiences of their authors, who usually, in gathering their material, see what it is desired they should see. Here is a book that breaks precedent in this regard and should be of value to the military student, for Captain Craige is a realist. He is a realist with a keen sense of the dramatic and, on the other hand, of comedy. He presents to the reader a truly serious work which has involved deep study and research, coupled with actual experience, with such skill that there is hardly a dull paragraph between its covers. Chapter succeeds chapter where interesting effect is presented in a startling and interesting way, and often comedy is the vehicle utilized by the author to expose to the reader the peculiar Haitian mental slant. Contrast the chapter in which the author describes the methods pursued by General Butler, then a major in the Marine Corps, in the pursuit of President Dartiguenave of Haiti to sign an important document of state, a side-splitting episode, with the downfall and massacre of President Sam. Here the two extremes—comedy and tragedy—are employed by the author to present to the reader the mental process f of the Haitian.
Captain Craige knows his subject. He first visited Haiti as a boy in search of adventure more than twenty years ago- Later, he revisited the island as a wandering correspondent shortly before the beginning of the American occupation. During the World War he joined the marines, saw service in France, and came home a captain. He was then detailed an aide in charge of public relations by Major General John A. Lejeune, then commandant of the Marine Corps. The scandal of the so-called marine atrocities in Haiti was then in full swing and the reports of this extraordinary affair went over Captain Craige’s desk.
In 1925 he went to Haiti for a 3-year detail as an officer in the Gendarmerie d'Haiti. He served in the hills and later became chief of police in Port au Prince, the capital of the Republic. He began early to acquire an extensive library of Haitian books; books written by Haitians about Haiti. It was not easy for him to procure these books, for the Haitians do not write them for European consumption.
With this background Captain Craig first wrote Black Bagdad, in which book he confined himself largely to a description of the natives, their classes, habits, and modes of thought, each illustrated by incidents that he had seen, heard, and verified. That narrative followed the general pattern of the usual American travel and adventure story.
In Cannibal Cousins Captain Craige has abandoned the loosely general for the sharply specific. He tells the story of the American occupation of Haiti as it has not been told before. He analyzes the structure of native political, social, and economic life, following his analyses through to their ultimate conclusions in a logical and ordered method, never hesitating because some facts revealed may happen to be unpleasant or some of his deductions unacceptable to a large and influential section of American thought. This he does, however, without abandoning the personal style and the graphic method of illustrating his analyses by incidents. Therein lies the charm of this book.
Haiti is not unlike other Central American countries. There is a small, well-educated, sophisticated class, and a large, densely ignorant population that is so far removed from the upper class as to be almost a different race. In Haiti the difference between these classes is more extreme than usual and the contrast more startling. Captain Craige places before the reader these contrasts in his series of chapters, dramatic, tragic, and humorous.
To be in politics in Haiti before the American occupation, Captain Craige found, was to be in the business of revolution. As popular voting was unknown in those days, presidents exchanged offices only through revolution, and the process of revolution, as portrayed by Captain Craige, was a complex but well-organized business with its codes of procedure and its distinctive ethics. Witness the massacre of President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, the last President before the American occupation. He was cut to pieces in the streets because of a breach of etiquette; he killed the wrong people in the wrong way at the wrong time.
Captain Craige in this book lets a flood of new light on many obscure points. He does not fail to pay his compliments, in a humorous way, to the lack of policy on the part of many authorities at home, which left the Navy and Marine Corps administrators in Port au Prince, holding the bag in the face of orders to accomplish two or three totally different and contradictory missions.
Cannibal Cousins is a thoughtful book written from the point of view of a patriotic American, and it is fascinatingly interesting. The officer who picks it up is unlikely to lay it aside until he has finished the last page, and with regret has arrived at the end of this interesting, enlightening, and amusing book.
FROM GALILEO TO COSMIC RAYS. By Harvey Brace Lemon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1934. $5.00
Reviewed by Earl W. Thomson, Associate Professor, U.S. Naval Academy
Year after year science teachers in colleges and universities search for books in their chosen subjects which give a novel viewpoint, treatment, or presentation. Usually they are disappointed because only too often the same old material has been revamped and rehashed, merely disguised under a new name and cover. Therefore, it is worthy of comment when a book appears which is different in its content, style, and make-up. Such a volume is that of Professor Lemon.
This modern textbook was designed for an introductory general course in the physical sciences:
a book with continuity, designed for reading from cover to cover within a reasonable time, stressing the source material, phenomena, and giving the interpretations in nontechnical style and by homely analogy.
Surrounded by the greatness of Michelson, Millikan, and Compton at the University of Chicago, Professor Lemon has for many years been a teacher among the researchers, making instruction the criterion of a professor. His classroom experience has been used in writing a popular book on physics which avoids mathematics and formulas except for an occasional footnote, which includes hundreds of clever and original drawings for illustrations, which has stereoscopic pictures and the proper lenses for viewing, but withal which is scientifically accurate, painfully logical, and up to the minute.
Within the last decade there has been a great development in the popularizing of the vastness of the universe and the minuteness of the discrete particles that compose matter. Led by Sir James Jeans, we have had readable books on modern physics that have made understandable the results of the experiments performed in thousands of laboratories, the occupants of which are so often constrained to oscillate in such a narrow groove that they cannot or will not explain their experiments to a public unused to the symbolism of advanced calculus or the intricacies of a spectroscope.
In this recent volume the subjects of classical and modern physics have been presented under the heads of: Mechanics, Heat, Electricity and Magnetism, Electricity and Matter, and Waves and Radiation. After the titles the parallelism to a classical textbook ceases. The part on electromagnetic waves, radiation, atomic and photonic structure is particularly excellent as it makes available the latest deductions of the physicists. Under the subject of light, great tribute is paid to one Naval Academy graduate, the late Prof. A. A. Michelson, whose researches in light started the era of modern physics.
When an author enjoys the writing of a book it is apt to be enjoyed by the readers. Professor Lemon certainly chuckled when he wrote certain passages: “You probably don’t understand what we have been saying very well. How confusing it all is! You are quite right. We ourselves and all other physicists have been much confused about it too.” What treason do we have here! And again, “It is possible to have stereoscopic pictures projected stroboscopically by a stereoptican.” Figure that one.
We recommend this book to all those whose reading in science must be modern, accurate, and enjoyable.
THE WORLD’S MESSENGERS. By Hanson Hart Webster. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1934. Regular edition $2.00; students’ edition $1.04.
This book by the author of Travel by Air, Land, and Sea, although primarily intended for boys and girls in their early teens, can be read with interest and profit by the majority of grown-ups.
The World's Messengers tells the story of communication, with emphasis upon modem means. Its theme may be stated as the portrayal of devices for communication used by primitive peoples which led to further inventions in later ages; man has slowly conquered all barriers to communication—not only those of distance, but also those created by oceans, mountains, and deserts; science in the last hundred years has made more and more rapid progress in communication than in all the preceding centuries; the ease of communication of the present day promotes the diffusion of culture throughout all sections of our country as well as through widely separated parts of the world; and, finally the facilities for the diffusion of culture are one of the foundations for progress and social change as well as for the promotion of amicable relations and friendship between men and nations.
Each chapter begins with the familiar means and devices for communication of today and traces their development back to primitive origins and early inventions. Scientific and technical phases of inventions are explained in simple language, with emphasis on their social effects and implications. Dramatic episodes are woven into the story to focus and enliven the content.
The frontispiece is in color and there are 8 full-page photographs and more than 100 text illustrations and maps.