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October 17, 1937 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1937-10-17

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TH.E MICHIGAN DAILY suNAY, OCT.17

IIN

THE

WORLD

OF

BOO-KS

a

BEMELMiqNSFound Yankee Miltarism
Difficult.To Fathom ...

American Artist Describes Effect
! ,T OM YC !f1n AS ih r Y T !At!

MY WAR WITH THE UNITED .sylums are in danger of going in-
STATES, by Ludwig Bemelmans. sane themselves, and after a few
Viking Press, New York. $2.50. weeks of service Bemelmans finds

By IRVING M. COPILOWISH
In December, 1914, at the age of 16,I
Ludwig Bemelmans left his home in
Tyrol to come to America. Having
spent his youth in the small lake
villages of Upper Austria, he was in-
spired by his readings in Karl May
and Fenimore Cooper to buy two pis-
tols with which to fight the Indians.
This and similar illusions of his at
that time are recounted in the fore-
ward to My War With the United
States. The chapters of the book are
translations from the pages of the
German diary kept by Bemelmans
during his service in the United States
army.
The extracts begin while he is lo-
cated at Fort Ontario, where he is
in a Field Hospital unit. Bemelmans is
dismayed at the laxity of the Ameri-
can military, as he compares it with
the German. The first of his ad-
ventures centers about this differ-
ence. Put in charge as wardmaster
at the hospital, he is first amazed
and then incensed at the patients'
disregard for the rules, especially for
the one dealing with 'Lights Out."
When Wardmaster Benfelmans puts
out the light and leaves the ward, the
men turn them on again and read,
play cards and talk.
Determined to do his bit for the
-cause of discipline, one night Bemel-
mans puts out the light and remains
in the room. The men object, and
when he refuses to put the light on
again for them, they shower him with
whatever appears handy, which in-
cludes two "glass ducks" (bed-pans).1
After a brief retreat, during which
he arms himself, Bemelmans reap-+
pears on the scene with his Colt 45
strapped to his side. Upon finding
himself again a target for the pa-
tients, he shoots twice over their
heads. This turns the trick, the men
are quiet, but Bemelmans finds him-
self under arrest. Appearing before
the colonel, "a very little man who al-
ways made speeches about an irriga-
tion project in some country with ma-
laria which he was responsible for,"'
Bemelmans is dismissed with the in-
formation that "the basic function'
of a hospital . .. is to cure men, not
to shoot them."1
After a few more similar incidents,
the author volunteers as an attendant
at a newly organized Hospital for the
insane at Fort Porter, near Buffalo.l
It is a fact that attendants in such+
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himself veering in that direction.
AR rmed, he gives himself the pro-
tracted hot baths he is used to giving
the patients, and casts about for
o her ways to save himself. He finds
an effective method. When the
strangeness starts to come on, he re-
calls scenes from his boyhood in
Tyrol. He has several favorite recol-
lections, and his descriptions of these
form the most charming parts of the
book. They are detailed and vivid,
and in them the author reaches
heights of lyric beauty. He finds
that drawing pictures of these scenes
helps him to recall the all-important
details, and this explains in part the
riotous illustrations. The book is
filled with these drawings of the au-
thor's, not all of the Tyrol, and they
add a great deal to its charm. As we
travel with Bemelmans about the

country on his various excursions to -- of i n avL as Uon J I A 3j/ aL1 (wn
Scranton and to Mississippi and New
York, we see new things in these old ----___---
places. All his experiences are re- THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A timentality, is told with a restraint
counted in a naive and penetrating SPANISH TOWN, by Elliott Paul. J that must have been doubly difficult
manner. Bemelmans' style possesses Random House, New York. $2.50. to achieve for a man writing of the
an undeniable charm, part of which destruction of his town and his
may be analyzed, and part of which By Mary Evalyn Owen friends. Nor is it told in an ob-
is definitively his own, and may not Even if Elliott Paul's account of trusively tragic vein. Elliott Paul
be put in more specific terms. As an The Life And Death Of A Spanish can sometimes smile at the people he
example of this, we may take a sen- .loves and pities, and what is more
tence from his description of the Town were written in jerky prose important, make the reader smile too.
army nurses. "The one at the head overflowing with grammatical errors, Of Don Ignacio Riqueo, one of the
of them is a crude person with a re- it would be a book worthy of respect .sl n Ig nowner, ane ot
volting fat body and the face of a because of the deep knowledge and island's largest landowners and most
Street car conductor; she also has a sincerity with which it is written. generous men, ha his "Lets
stupid walk and a common voice." The author, an American artist, lived written of him that his dependents
The casual length of this sentence is for five years in the small island town were his friends as well, that he really
delightful, but it is explainable as a of Santa Eulalia, knew its people and d his an never neglece
carry-over from the German, in which took part in its activities. He saw, his wunioiea tenty yr
carr-ove saw' hi junor, was not restless or bored."
tongue such length and piling up of the leisurely but not lazy mode of liv Don Ignacio, totally unawarepofafso-
phrases is customary. But the apt- ing which he so admired destroyed cial Igschm, nevrtaliingwhe sg-
ness of the simile is something of his, by the war. He saw the buildings ncan ceme ofesocialin theoren sigl
own; he shares it only with the few'which he loves to describe, and the of social theories and social
other writers who are similarly gifted- trees and flds. destroyec s, sl wt h o

,
r
i
s

(Continued from Page 4)
have a radio in your car, so that you
could get snatches of the Eroica in
between dances or roadhouses-but
have you a radio in your bathtub?
(4). The weekend, of all times, is al-
ready full to running over with good
music. Sunday has positively a sur-
eit, and on Saturday there are the
Boston and Chicago series of sym-
phony concerts, not to mention the
ne great operatic broadcast of the
week, from the Met. Why not pick a
time during the dull period from
Monday to Thursday, which is prac-
tically symphonyless?
(5). Since a Toscanini concert
would be the big event, no matter
what evening it were placed on, it
would of course be possible for New
York to ignore the rest of the coun-
try's objections and still achieve suc-
cess with the program. But since the
avowed aim of the undertaking is to

further the cause of symphonic music
throughout America, to raise the level
of interest and knowledge in East
Lansing as well as New York, why
jeopardize the very goal of the proj-
ect itself?
There you have the principle ques-
'ions raised. Altogether, they seem
conclusive. That to find an hour and
a half in the midst of complicat-
ed, long-standing and unbreak-
able schedules which would please
everyone is extremely difficult, goes
without saying. But for such an
otherwise well-planned, widely adver-
tised program, upon the success of
which so much depends, it would
seem that NBC could do better by its
eager and grateful public than it has.
POPE APPOINTS BISHOP
WASHINGTON, Oct. 15.-OP)-Ap-
pointment" by Pope Pius of the Right
Reverend Monsignor Eugene J. Mc-
Guinness as bishop of the diocese of
Raleigh, N.C., was received in 'a mes-
sage here tonight from Vatican City.

Low Price Paper Cover Editions,
European Style, Introduced Here

By STAN SWINTON
Paper-bound reprint editions of
standard or recently popular titles
have long been an important part of
The European book market, yet at-
tempts to introduce low priced edi-
tions of a similiar sort in the United!
States have consistently failed. It is
important news that finally a newly
formed organization has been able to
print 50,000 to 100,000 copies of both
new and reprint titles, put them on
sale at 25 and 35 cents and have the
entire edition sell out.
Featuring such important works
as Saroyan's "The Daring Young Man
on the Flying Trapeze," Morley Cal-
laghan's "They Shall Inherit the
Earth" in reprints and new books of
the temper of Walter Duranty's
"Babes Without Tales," Marcel Acier's
collection of letters "From Spanish
Trenches," Leo Huberman's topical
"The Labor Spy Racket" and Bruce
Minton and John, Stuart's "Men Who
Lead Labor," the series had an im-
mediate and enormous sale-some
titles were gone in four days.
Perhaps this of all years was the
perfect one for the introduction of
the series. Before the depression re-
prints and cheap editions were tried
often and failed just as as often. In
1929 total book sales in the United
States reached a high of 235,360,002.
Over 7,000 new titles were issued and
because of the abundance of money
were selling. Then came the depres-
sion. Publishers averaged 8,000 new
books a year between 1930 and 1935
but their gross sales were down $35,-
000,000. Some solution had to be
found. Instead of individual readers
providing the great solid mass of sales,
lending libraries and rentallibraries
were becoming supremely important.
A publisher decided to issue one
dollar editions of standard authors
and it agreed with the purse of Mr.

American. Immediately remains of
unsaleable bound books, publishers
overstocks, were put on sale along
with odd-priced reprints and they
too sold. However book-stores were
handling all of these volumes - and
the book-store buying public is a
grade above the drug-store public.
The great masses were still to be
reached.
Two young men interested in pub-
lishing obtained backing fbr, a new
firm, called "Modern Age Books,"
which would publish huge editions
and distribute them through news-
tands and drug-stores, books which
had great popular appeal. The two,
Richard Storrs Childs, once editor of
the Yale Lit and Harkness Hoot and
a well known magazine writer, and
Samuel W. Craig, founder and first
president of the Literary Guild of
America and Book League of America,
obtained the services of a publishing
veteran, Louis P. Birk. A college man
who later worked at mining, in the
wheatfields, sold cars and finally be-
came a text-book salesman, Birk was;
made editor.
Three types of publications were
decided upon. First there were the
Blue Seal Books, original volumes
published in paper bound edition for,
25 cents or with cloth binding at 85,
cents. Red Seal Books, reprints of,
best sellers judged worthy, came in aj
single paper bound quarter edition.
Gold Seal Books sell for 35 cents in
paper, 85 cents in cloth.
The editions sold out immediately.
National liberal publications such as

tcu , u lv u " L.
He saw his friends and their children
hurled from an easy security into
tense insecurity. Yet this material,
which lends itself . with dangerous
ease to over-dramatization and sen-
The New Republic gave the venture a
great deal of space and commented
that at last the cheap book for the
average American was available -
also they criticized some of Louis
Birk's choices, doubting whether
some of the books would sell suf-
ficiently well. At the present time
these arguments seem to have secured
little proof from sales figures although
their basic soundness seems logical
when one hears "Red Feather," a
fairy tale, and several of the detective
novels Were chosen.
priticism so far has been enthus-
iastic on the whole, however. Upton
Sinclair said, "If this plan for pub-
lishing had been started 36 years ago,
they would have been the publisher
of all of my 58 books." Approval also
came from Governor Frank Murphy
Ray Lyman Wilbur, president of
Stanford, Stephen Leacock and
others.
Future publications will include Jay
Franklin's much awaited autobiog-
raphy of Fiorello-LaGuardia and,
more important still, "You Have Seen,
Their Faces," by Erskine Caldwall and
Margaret Bourke-White (she is a
Michigan graduate) which will come
out later in a five dollar Viking press
edition.
If present indications are interpret-
ed aright the cheap book is here to
stay. Publishers can once again see
sales rocket over the 200,000,000 mark
and an eager public will be able to af-
ford a library. It is not too much to
say that a new era in publishing is
invading America.

will." It would have been very easy
for such a man as the author to have
been contemptuous of one so ignorant.
The fact that he is not reveals as
clearly as can anything short of the
book itself, the spirit in which it is
Iwritten.
It would be both tiresome and futile
to attempt here to tell anything of
i Santa Eulalia's people. The fact that
they are people prevents the giving
of a "brief description" of any of
them. It woud be just as tiresome
and futile to attempt here to give any
adequate idea of Santa Eulalia. The
people and the town are inseparable
and permit no summarization.
Personal and real as the history is
when viewed only as a story of a
town and its people, it is more than
this. As is always true, the .specific
account of the- effect of the war on
a comparatively small number of fa-
miliar people, is more meaningful
and shocking than any statistics on
the thousands killed can be. Yet
these instances enable us to graspI
the significance of the larger figures;
we suddenly know that all those thou-
sands are individual persons.,
Just as the story might have been
overwrought, so might it have leaned
backward to the opposite extreme,
made timid by the censoring fear of
sentimentalism, and fallen fiat, a dull
list of facts. The skill with which
both of these faults are avoided is
as effective as it is natural.
ANNNOUNCE PLEDGING
Alpha Chi Omega announces the
pledging of Mary Lou Mills, '41, Ann
Arbor; Jane Wilson, '41, Scarsdale,
N. Y.; and Lonna Parker, '41, Mil-
waukee, Wis.
A correction has been announced)
to the effect that Annabel Van
Winkle, '41, Howell, pledged Pi Beta
Phi sorority, not Alpha Phi as was
stated in yesterday's paper.

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