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February 28, 1937 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1937-02-28

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TH F:44C H -14 A" -I D AI L 7k

I 7 F.LY 1E.;' 19?

IN

THE

WORLD

OF

BOOCKS

------ ---------

Survivor Of '5 Disaster Tells
IOf Russian Fleet's Destruction

TSUSHIMA - the
Novikoff-Priboy.

memoirs of
Knopf. $3.50.

A.

By JOSEPH GIES
In the autumn of 1904, with the
Russian armies in Manchuria de-
feated, the Pacific fleet bottled up
or destroyed and Port Arthur, chief
stake in the war with Japan, cut off
and beleaguered, the Russian high
command resolved on a last desperate
move to save the imperial prestige
and the Russian capital invested in
the Orient, and ordered the Baltic
fleet of Admiral Rodzhestvenzky to
Vladivostok.
The story of this gigantic cruise
of thirty-eight ships around the
Cape of Good Hope, through the
Indian Ocean and up the coast of
South China and of its complete
annihilation at the hands of Admiral
Togo and the Japanese fleet as it
entered the Sea of Japan is recounted
in detail in this carefully yet dra-
niatically written account by A.
Novikoff-Priboy, paymaster's steward
aboard the armoured cruiser Oryol.
The story is, of course, -pure trag-
edy. From the bright September day
anchor was weighed at Kronstadt to
the night of terror at Tsushima six
months later it became increasingly
apparent to every member of the ex-
pedition, officers and men, with the
sole exception of Admiral Rodzhest-
venzky, that the fleet was doomed.
Long before the destination was
reached Port Arthur had been lost,
and a month before the denouement
of useless destruction the Russian
field army had been decisively de-
feated at Mukden, rendering abortive
even a possibly successful conclusion
of the voyage. But the decree of the
autocratic general staff in St. Peters-
burg and the obstinacy of the admiral
prevented the exercise of, reason,a
while the incompetence of both+
rendered the fleet an easy prey to the
vigilant and efficient Japanese.
A striking example of historical
foreshadowing occurred as the ex-
pedition entered the North Sea in
October. The English fishing fleet
was mistaken at night for Japanese
torpedo boats and a number of the
helpless craft were sunk before the,
blunder was rectified. The prepos-
terous assumption that Japanese
torpedo boats could have reached
Dogger Bank without being previ-
ously discovered was made possible
by the hopeless confusion and un-
reasoning fear aboard the Russian
ships. The incident led to interna-
tional complications and at the same
time ruined the morale of the ships'
companiesn
Another incident equally revealing.

of the Russian conduct of the war
in general and of this expedition in
particular is the author's description
of a naval review held at the begin-
ning of the voyage at which the Czar
and the German Emperor were pres-
ent, and during the course of which
target practice was held. The Kaiser
was much impressed with the quick
demolition of the targets, and praised
the gunners for their accuracy. The
crews were highly elated by the to-
tally unexpected success of the ex-
orcise - until they learned that the
targets had been so constructed as
to fall to pieces at the mere' wind of
a passing projectile! Later, in Af-
rica, target practice demonstrated
the hopeless inadequacy of the gun-
ners' training; but according to Nov-
ikoff, practice had to be stopped with-
out making any appreciable improve-
ment in the accuracy of the firing
in order to conserve ammunition for
the battle.
Admiral Rodzhestvensky, according
to the author's description, was a
personification of the vices of autoc-
racy: brutality, weakness, lack of
judgment, conceit, obstinacy and
cowardice. On several occasions dur-
ing the cruise the admiral came
aboard Novikoff's ship, the Oryol,
and other members of the squadron
in order to berate and even strike
members of the crews for various
acts of inefficiency or insubordina-
tion. In any case, the orders of the
day quoted in many places certainly
are of a tone hardly calculated to
arouse the enthusiasm of a disheart-
aned crew.
The battle itself, begun and car-
ried through with stupidity by the
admiral and his staff and with vary-
ing heroism and helplessness by the
men, is an almost endless series of
minor horrors, of gun turrets ex-
ploding, of men torn to pieces, of
great ships foundering and finally
the surrender of a battered remnant
of the squadron on the dawn of the
renewal of the fight.
Good incident: the author, helping
the surgeon in the sick bay during
the action, wondering what to do
with an amputated leg the doctor
had handed him.'
All through the book, as all
through the cruise, runs the thread
of the revolution-the dissatisfac-
tion of the crews, the quietly distrib-
uted propaganda, the shock of the
news of the massacre of the Winter
Palace all paved the way for the
strong reaction against the govern-
ment which took place in the prison
camps. Tsushima is, in fact, the his-
tory of a staggering blow dealt Rus-
sian autocracy through the revela-
tion of its startling and revolting
weakness.

SCHWARZ
Disarmingly Innocent
In Recollections Of
OldRegime
ALMOST FORGOTTEN GERMANY
by Georg Schwarz. Translated by1
Laura Riding and Robert Graves.
The Seizin Press, Deya Majorca,
and Constable & Co., London.
By ARTHUR PETERS
The title is not auspicious. It re-
calls a German-American enthusiast
wandering through by-ways of Ger-
many with nostalgia - and a note-
book. But the portrait in the frontis-

Predicts

A

Social Revolution

piece is more suggestive of the book.
It is a photograph of an old man
with a worn yet serene face who is
quietly engaged in making a rug.
Almost Forgotten Germany is in
reality the autobiography of a culti-
vatedGerman Jew who was born in
Prussia in 1861. He has had an event-
ful life in a variety of professions.
He has been a Prussian landowner,1
an artist, an art-dealer, a racial exile.
He relates his anecdotes with con-'
siderable charm, and he possesses a
quiet zest for life under whatever
difficult terms it offers itself.
The book impresses one as being
too short. Perhaps the author felt
himself, incapable of writing on a
larger scale; in any event, the two-
hundred odd pages cannot contain an
adequate picture of a long existence
which was by no means purely con-
templative. There is a whole world
of life to record which Herr Schwarz
only sketches lightly. We would like
to know -more of his adventures on
his estate. In East Prussia. The sug-
gestions he gives us recall some of
Tolstoy's early tales of Russian land-
owners with the tragi-comic pic-
tures of human stupidity in its strug-
gle with the 'soil. But the author's
mood was 'wayward. He disliked
farming, and soon turned south to
Munich. where he settled among the
half-mad' artistic Bohemians of that
city and amused himself with paint-
ing, music, and love-affairs.
Georg Schwarz's anecdotes of the
Munich art-circles are not all of equal
interest. Some of them have just the
faintest ring of familiarity, as though.
we had heard them before. A few of
themr are hilariously funny and most
of themi are amusing. The author is
gifted with a disarming innocence of
moral prejudices. It is refreshing be-
cause it is accompanied by the skepti-
cal Epicureanism of an old man whose
spirit has remained keen.
The peculiar value of this book is in
the mellowness of culture that under-
lies it;. It is a culture at once cyni-
cal' and humane, sly, disillusioned,
and tender. It is not free of bitter-
riess; but this bitterness goes hand in
hand with an extraordinary gaiety
of .heart. It is shamelessly irreverent
and does not always choose the object
of its irreverence wisely, but one feels
that this is the overflow of a vivacious
spirit capable of expressing joy and
mockery in the face even of brutal
oppression. It is, in a word, a frag-
ment of that enduring Jewish culture
which is so curiously irritating to the
modern German mind, and so often
tragically misunderstood elsewhere.
ut which persecution will never
destroy.

ON THIS ISLAND. W. H. Auden.
Random House. $1.50
By MARY SAGE MONTAGUE
One might say that Mr. Auden
in his latest book, is less obscure, if
obscurity were a legitimate qualifica-
tion of poetry; but certainly he is
less allusive, and less often techni-
cally unfathomable. There is a note
of assurance here which was not so
apparent in his earlier writings, and
a firm conviction of the approaching
social upheaval which brings him
perhaps closer than ever to his
friend C. Day Lewis. Both poets
have since their undergraduate days
at Oxford predicted and prayed for
the revolution; now they await it,
certain of its inevitability. The tri-
umph of Lewis's
"Beckon O beacon, and O sun be
soon!
Hollo, bells, over a melting earth!
Let man be many and his sons all
sane,
Fearless with fellows, handsome by
the hearth.
Break from your trance: start danc-
ing now in town,
And, fences down, the ploughing
match with mate.
This is your day: so turn, my com-
rades, turn
Aike infants' eyes like sunflowers to
the light."
is echoed in Auden's

In Bold, Triumphant Poetry

In this collection, he is still speaking
.he same language but with a very
differenteaccent. The lines follow
each other so that one can get a
connected thought and not a vague
impression; there is coherence and
boldness, and yet none of the poetic
art has been jeopardized. Never does
the lucid expression degenerate into
the trite, and never is the sense of
the dramatic lost. The reader who
drifts along on a deceptive bit of
lyricism is brought up sharply with
such a descriptive phrase as "the
sexy airs of summer," and the ap-
parent casualness and bantering at-
titude are often only the basis for
a stern prophecy.
Auden is predominantly a satirist,
and the smugness and selfishness of
the capitalist are his chief targets.
Occasionally he chooses the most
simple poetic forms for his thrusts,
or he takes the symbols of a capi-
talistic society which he thinks most
significant of its degeneration.
"Now the leaves are falling fast,
Nurse's flowers will not last;
Nurses to the graves are gone,
And the -prams go rolling on."
But although universal in its social
implications, the expression and feel-
ing are English, and the desire for
justice is for justice in England first;
it is the situation of the coal miners
in Wales that has the primary claim
on his attention, not that of 'the
miners in Pittsburgh. He is always
aware of the close bond between
himself and the people, and of the
tradition of English writing which he
must uphold,
" 'The poetry is in the pity,' Wilfred
said,
And Kathy in her journal, 'To be
rooted in life,
That's what I want.'
These moods give no permission to
be idle."
Forthcoming Books
AS LONG AS I LIVE, by Emilie
Loring. $2.
IF INFLATION COMES, by Roger
W. Babson. $1.35.
CAREERS AF'TER FORTY, by Wal-
ter B. Pitkin, $1.75.
THE REVOLUTION BETRAYED,
by Leon Trotzky. $2.50.
TWILIGHT OF A WORLD, by Franz
Werfel. $3.
IT'S A FAR CRY, by Robert W.
Winston. $3.
LIGHT WOMAN, by Zona Gale. $2.
MIDNIGHT ON THE DESERT, by
J. B. Priestley. $3.
THE MIRACLE OF ENGLAND, by
Andre Maurois. $3.75.
PRESENT INDICATIVE, by Noel
Coward. $3.

4GONE WITH THE WIND' lutionary W arin upper New York,
STILL LEADS remained in second place, with Alice
Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With Tisdale Hobart's "Yang and Yin"
The Wind" continued to lead the na- ranking third.
tion's best sellers through February, Leading the non-fiction best sell-
with the total copies now off the ers is Dale Carnegie's "How To Win
withrn the otalcopiestoundongthe-Friends and Influence People," with
presses reaching the astounding to- "An American Doctor's Odyssey," by
tal of 1,300,000. Victor Heiser second, and Marjorie
"Drums Along the Mohawk," Wal- HiHlis' "Live Alone and Like It"
ter D. Edmonds' story of the Revo- ranking third.
IT'S HER E!
And with this piping new
satire at hand, you're in for
A Riot of Literary Free Wheeling

" . Can
Hate so securely bind? Are the dead
here? Yes,
And the wish to wound has the
power. And tomorrow
Comes. It's a world. It's a way."
The paradox in Auden's poetry has
long been that he speaks in the
vernacular of the proletariat, but so,
overburdens common speech with
puns, allusions, technical ambiguities,
that it is almost totally incomprehen-
sible to those about whom it is writ-
ten and to whom it is often directed.
TROTZKY VS. STALIN
"The End of Socialism in Russia,"
an article by Max Eastman appear-
ing in the current issue of Harper's
Magazine, will be published this week
in a bound volume selling for 75
cents.
Dorothy Thompson and Herbert
Agar have declared that Eastman's
tract represents the most concise
summing up of what has happened
to the Communist experiment in Rus-
sia which has yet appeared.
Eastman describes in the article
the switch from Leninism and Trotz-
kyism to Stalinism and predicts a
timeswhen Communist Russiasand
Fascist Germany may be in sym-
pathy.

By W. H. Mack of Ann Arbor, Lit. '28
AT ALL BOOKSTORES
Published 1937-- HILLMAN-CURL, Inc., NEW YORK

TYPEWRITERS
1 makes and models,
ught. Sold, Rented,
:changed, Repaired.

t
I
t
a

BIOGRAPHY OF FRANZ LISZT
Zsolt Harsanyi, a Hungarian writ-
er, regarded as one of the most dis-
tinguished biographers and novelists
of Europe, has just completed a new
novel built around the life story of
Franz Liszt and titled "Immortal

I t 1 i ::: :%.6'C444SK:..ti

I'

0. D. Morrill
314 SOUTH STATE STREET'

Franz."

I

I - I --- - I'll I I - mmmmi

STENOTYPE or GR EGG
NEW CLASSES MONDAY. - DAY or EVENING.
HAMILTON BUSINESS COLLEGE
William at State Phone 7831.

cvi nnouncing

C'.40

b

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d . ,
1
"
S' "
f
, f
.
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1S A MAN

THE

4

ASSEMBLY BALL

at the

I

Michigan League Ballroom

Friday, March 5th

Nine till One

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YOU may not measure him by a compass or yardstick, but may
by the determination of his character, the quality and integrity of his
work. The measure of a man and of a business are one and the same.
There is but one standard by which to judge in either instance - that of
Character; a Reputation for proved responsibility and trustworthiness
in the execution of duties.
We feel we have earned, through Service, that Reputation, and

oi)1usic by

JOH N NY

HAMP

AND HIS ORCHESTRA

I

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