BETWEEN an introductory chapter that explains the psychologist's area of investigation, and a final chapter that gently reveals us all to be, in varying degrees, victims of superstition, this book packs a fascinating tale. It is indeed a ghost story that possesses all of the traditional elements of thrill plus a rather final explanation of ghosts themselves.
CHICAGO UNIVERSITY professor of philosophy and state senator from the Fifth District, Illinois, T. V. Smith has, in this volume, given his fellow Americans one of the wisest books on politics that has been written for many a year.
THE Dean of Teachers College, Columbia University, emerges from this series of essays about education in relation to the social order, as a pamphleteer and an agitator of the first rank.
TO BE of much value, an analytic work dealing with propaganda must be based on authenticated psychological information and on basic sociological assumptions. It must, further, yield acceptable concrete exemplification of the reasonableness and the adequacy of the special principles which "it develops. Measured against these criteria, Professor Doob's book seems unquestionably the best treatise on propaganda now available.
SCHOLARS of long standing are so often thought of as rather narrow specialists, that it is interesting to have had two really striking examples of academic versatility in the last few months. Alvin Johnson, like George Santayana, has now brought forth a first novel when past sixty years of age.
IT IS certainly "news" when a journalist of international reputation undertakes publicly to provide the "lowdown" on propaganda. When that newsman happens to have directed American foreign propaganda during the World War, the event becomes especially noteworthy. Mr. Irwin's interest is not theoretical, but practical.
THOUGH as a nation we are sometimes accused of being callous to fundamental criticism of our ways of living, the novel-reading public has in recent years given evidence of widespread interest in books, which reflect the American scene with more of disapprobation than approval.
JOHN W. STUDEBAKER finished writing The American Way just before leaving his position as superintendent of public schools at Des Moines, Iowa, to begin service as United States Commissioner of Education. His socio-educational philosophy is clearly revealed in this volume.
ACCORDING to the publisher's jacket this is the most popular of Professor Joad's treatises on philosophy and has been the best seller lists in England for several months. That fact probably justifies an American edition, especially such unconfused philosophic minds as Mr. G. K. Chesterton and Sir John Buchan, the present Governor General of Canada, afford it unconditional recommendations.
THE title of this book, "Humanities," is bitterly ironic, for the volume consists of twenty-four full page pictorial compositions in white, black, and shades of gray all illustrating the chosen theme, "Man's inhumanity to man."
If American institutions of higher learning were the impartial examiners of current social tendencies that they frequently enough claim to be, this book by Jerome Davis, dealing critically with the cultural reverberations of the present economic system, would constitute a basic text in hundreds of college courses from Oregon to Florida and from Maine to California.
Many people can obtain a firmer feeling of new insight and a deeper conviction of having drawn general principles from a complex problem, by reading a series of stories about real everyday folks, than they can get from any amount of statistical record or philosophical discussion. For such persons Sherwood Anderson's Puzzled America is neatly designed.
In his latest plea for a definitive collectivism, Stuart Chase is engaged essentially in endeavoring to knock a modicum of objective sense into the minds of fear-stricken and tradition-proud business men.
In spite of James Wechsler's bitter personal experience with educational reaction, Revolt on the Campus is by no means the "confessions" of a victim, anxious to get his sensational story before the world. On the contrary, the events in which he figured receive only the briefest treatment in this long parade of violent incidents, which have greeted American students as they wakened from their lengthy political nap. Although the book deals with such controversial material as the anti-war strike, Jew-baiting, investigations of "Red" activities in the universities, student picketing, and Vigilante violence, it is such a sober and aptly documented treatment of these facts that it should be on the "must" list of all people concerned with the mentality and activity of the youth of the country.
In Sex and Temperament Margaret Mead has used the familiar method of reporting direct observation of three primitive tribes to shatter the ancient superstition that there are innate and hence unalterable temperamental differences between men and women.
These three books all agree in portraying the consumer as the somewhat uncomprehending victim of social forces, and in recognizing the potentially enormous influence which a nation-wide, all-embracing consumer's organization might extend toward desirable changes in our economic system.
The hesitant, conservative educator's most frequent plea, when confronted with a proposal for decisive social action by his more liberal colleagues is that not enough facts are available for him to judge large social issues. If presented with facts, he insists that they are selected or biased by a radical point of view. With the multiplication of books like Mr. Werner's, however, such pleas will soon lose all validity.
IN Technics and Civilization and the supplementary study, which he promises later, Lewis Mumford is attempting a monumental task of cultural interpretation. And one must immediately add that he has in this first volume been remarkably successful. Technics and Civilization is by a far margin the most informative and the most impelling piece of literature now available for guidance through the intricacies of our present machine-dominated world.
MANY of the principles laid down with cool scientific detachment in this book would constitute first-class arguments for a conviction that society can and should remake itself on a more rational basis. The essence of "civilized life," as Professor Dunlap sees it against a background of anthropological lore and psychological laws, life in the development of a culture with the possibility of international application and capable of adjustment to changing conditions.
THROUGHOUT The Passing of the Gods the author's style is clear, cool, and cerebral in dealing with questions too often obscured by heated discussions, namely that of the influences which have molded religion in the past, and that of the future of religion. The book represents a practical and detailed application of the materialistic interpretation of history.
THIS is a piece of strict historical research completed recently in one of our great universities as a part of the scholastic requirements for a higher degree. It presents most of the usual forbidding characteristics of a dissertation, such as small numerals inserted in the text, documentary references and footnotes cluttering up every page, and a heavily academic format, but there emerges, nevertheless, a vital and fascinating story. The story is that of the relation between actual or reported events in Cuba preceding the Spanish American War and the antics of the leading New York City newspapers of the period (1895-1898).
THIS pamphlet prepared for the men in the Civilian Conservation Corps under sponsorship of the United States Office of Education was banned by Mr. Robert Fechner, the Director of the C.C.C., as being too pessimistic. Let us see what statements the Director might have thought too depressing for the young men under his care.
ONE of the most remarkable things about the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt is its wide use of the experimentally minded men in the making of new national policies. The use of highly trained technical men upon a multitude of intricate but relatively minor governmental tasks is nothing new, but the deliberate searching nit for important administrative posts of men and women if broad experience and especial distinction whose unconventional economic and social opinions were a matter if public record—that is something new in modern America.
IT is interesting to speculate on how high a percentage of conventionally "educated" adults would find much of the United States history detailed in Rebel America as unfamiliar and perhaps as fantastic as a fairy tale. To be sure, a generation ago American history was taught almost solely as a procession of wars, important dates, and glorious events participated in by national heroes who could do no wrong.
THIS new volume from the pen of Ludwig Lewisohn exemplifies the growing tendency for specialists in other fields, when they comment upon the larger social problems of our day, to designate the education of youth as the lever by which the ideal aims of civilization may be attained.
WE can never arrive, through education, at a level of popular seal and understanding necessary for creative social adjustment, until that education ceases to be merely a phase of institutional behavior, and becomes a process, superior to the institutional habits of the time." This statement not far from the middle of Allport's large, though easily readable book may be taken as symbolic of the central role he would give to teachers in bringing about a new and better world
THE GRACE OF LANGUAGE in "Property or Peace" is so compelling that there is a strong temptation to present Mr. Bradford's book by a series of representative- quotations, thus allowing the American reader easily to cross the threshold into a viewpoint that is as significant for his country as it is for Great Britain.
ANY TEACHER or school administrator should find absorbing recreational reading in this tale of the unsuccessful attempt to introduce progressive educational ideas into the schools at Nugget City. The locale is fictitious, according to the author’s prefatory note “a blend of several cities”, but we do not need to be told that the characters . . . with one or two exceptions, are to be found in any medium sized community”.
THIS little book by our first woman Cabinet Member is interesting chiefly because it is her resume of the slow progress toward making industrial life better in terms of human values during the last twenty-five years in this country. Her indomitable, almost incredible optimism shines throughout the story.
WALTER N. POLAKOV is an industrial engineer possessed of two qualities unusual among the engineering profession today. He has vision, which enables him to see modern industrial development in its proper relationship both to the past and to the future.