Books of the Month

History. A new edition, two volumes in one, has been issued of George W. Williams’s History of the Negro Race in America, from 1619 to 1880. We have already received the work, and this edition does not appear to contain any additions or changes. —Military Manners and Customs, by I. A. Farrer (Holt), is a résumé, in readable form, of the principal points in the history of war, such as treatment of prisoners, rules about spies, the change of weapons, the meaning of parts of dress. The study, it appears, is to be called bellology. There can be no objection to calling it so, the author says. Yes, there is. We do not want any more mixed technical terms. Machiology would be better, and it is just as disagreeable a word. We like the conclusion of the book, for the author, after his industrious explanations in the antiquities of the subject, turns to the ethical side, and shows that the disintegration of the war spirit may be looked for in the exercise of the individual conscience, by which the soldier ceases to be, as now, a non-moral agent. — American Presbyterianism, its origin and early history, together with an appendix of letters and documents, many of which have recently been discovered, by Charles Augustus Briggs. (Scribners.) A close study of the facts of the subject, untouched by any imaginative light, but strictly, dryly, matter of fact. It has all the appearance of thoroughness, yet we are a little puzzled over the account of New England Presbyterianism. The casual reader would suppose that New England was founded by Presbyterians, but that there was some subtle influence called Congregationalism, which had the effect to shorten the chapter in Dr. Briggs’s history. — New Light on Mormonism, by Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, with an introduction by Thurlow Weed. (Funk & Wagnalls. ) Mrs. Dickinson’s new light is thrown chiefly upon the origin of the sect, and especially on the invention of the Book of Mormon.—The third volume of Taine’s The French Revolution has been published. The translation is by John Durand. (Holt.) — Russia Under the Tzars, by Stepniak (Scribner’s Sons), gives a lurid picture of Russian despotism. Like Underground Russia, the work is a series of detached studies.

Biography. The latest volume in the American Statesmen Series is Samuel Adams, by J. K. Hosmer. (Houghton.) Mr. Hosmer has the first requisite of a biographer, hearty interest in his subject; and he has given Adams his place, which is not on a pedestal, but on the pavement, with much skill and animation. The town meeting, as a political force, is well understood and described; but the most serviceable part of Mr. Hosmer’s work is his individualizing of this man of the town meeting, “always awake, though others might want to sleep; always at work, though others might be tired.” We are not so sure that he has clearly defined the limitations of Adams’s political thought. — In the Men of Letters Series (Houghton), the latest number is Nathaniel Parker Willis, by Henry A. Beers. Barring a tendency to imitate his subject’s jauntiness, Mr. Beers has written with a clear sense of Willis’s light weight. He has been commendably patient and thorough in his sifting of material, and since Willis was the best representative of one phase of our literary history, it is a satisfaction to have so clean and complete a picture of the man and his surroundings. In taking account of Willis’s character, however, has Mr. Beers sufficiently considered the self-indulgence which enfeebled a writer who might have been light without being weak ? A man who is indifferent to his pecuniary obligations is not the one to have the most sensitive literary conscience. — Louis Pasteur, His Life and Labors, by his son-in-law. Translated from the French by Lady Claud Hamilton. (Appleton.) The French title of this work was felicitous : Histoire d’un Savant, par un Ignorant, and describes the attitude taken by the author. He might not like to be called un Ignorant by any one but himself, but he intends to say that he writes for the average reader concerning the work of a most interesting man of science, translating the technical phrases which Pasteur would use in addressing his colleagues, and omitting whatever is too abstruse for the laity. The author is plainly the hero’s son-in-law, and not his valet. — Chinese Gordon, the Uncrowned King; his character as it is portrayed in his private letters. Compiled by Laura C. Holloway. (Funk & Wagnalls.) A mosaic which cannot help giving some hints of Gordon’s character, in more ways than the compiler supposes.—Henry Irving, by William Winter (Geo. J. Coombes), is a collection of critical articles which originally appeared in the columns of the N. Y. Tribune. It is seldom that dramatic criticism gets the chance, or deserves the chance, to repeat itself as literature. Though the reader may not always accept Mr. Winter’s point of view, and so fail at times to share his enthusiasm, the impression will remain that these essays were well worth preserving in book-form. For instance, it would have been a pity to have Such charming and thoughtful chapters as The Golden Age of Acting and The Influence of the Stage lost in the oblivion of yesterday’s newspaper. The woodcut portraits of Mr. Irving and Miss Terry narrowly miss being very poor.

Philosophy and Religion. Dr. McCosh’s Philosophic Series (Scribners) has advanced to its eighth number: Herbert Spencer’s Philosophy as culminated in his Ethics. By this short cut one may at once know what Mr. Spencer maintains, and also how idle his speculation is. — The Nature and Reality of Religion ; a controversy between Frederic Harrison and Herbert Spencer. (Appleton). In this philosophical duel, each combatant blazes away after he has been killed. — Sermons by Bishop Matthew Simpson, of the Methodist Episcopal church. Edited from short hand reports, by Geo. R. Crooks. (Harpers.) Bishop Simpson was a great orator ; he was also a man of great administrative power. He was probably more like John Wesley than any of that founder’s successors. These qualities are suggested by this volume, rather than directly expressed in it. The vitality of the sermons was so much in the man, that one feels at once the need of the human voice; yet the man was so subordinated to his work that a book could fairly set him forth, and these sermons, direct, large-minded, impatient of petty considerations, disclose something of the secret of the bishop’s power. — The Protestant Faith, or Salvation by Belief ; an Essay upon the errors of the Protestant Church: by Dwight Hinckley Olmstead (Putnams) : a not very forcible tractate against the error which makes intellectual belief the basis of religion. Mr. Olmstead’s reasoning is too restricted to reach very important results. An inquiry into the bases of Protestantism would disclose more fundamental truths.

Travel and Nature. — Life and Travel in India : being recollections of a journey before the days of railroads, by Anna Harriette Leonowens. (Porter & Coates.) The author, well-known by her work on Siam, has thrown into this record of travel a good deal of personality, and evidently takes more interest in tire persons of India than in the antiquities or natural scenes. It is odd that she should describe the feats of jugglers without apparently having her own curiosity so far aroused as to venture on any explanation. — Home Studies in Nature, by Mary Treat (Harpers): A very unpretentious and agreeable record of observations, by a patient observer, among birds, insects, and plants. We welcome such books, not only on their own account, but because they constitute a rational corrective to a too analytical and, so to speak, inhumane study of nature. — Boots and Saddles, or Life in Dakota with General Custer, by Elizabeth B. Custer (Harpers): a lively, fresh narrative of domestic life in the cavalry service, and when one considers what that domestic life must have been, one readily sees that Mrs. Custer’s book has plenty of adventure in it. It is possessed by a refreshingly hearty spirit.—The Rescue of Greely, by Commander W. S. Schley and Professor J. R. Soley (Scribners) : a plain narrative, with all the official documents, and useful maps. The pictures have the general fidelity of photographs, but little artistic value.—Fly Rods and Fly Tackle: suggestions as to their manufacture and use, by Henry P. Wells (Harpers): a very full and unconventional treatise, based on personal experience, and enlivened by accounts of personal adventures. —In a Trip to Hawaii, published by the Oceanic Steamship Company of San Francisco, one finds a guide-book of the customary external seductiveness, but the interest in it is increased by discovering that it is written by Charles Warren Stoddard, whose South Sea Idylls formed an agreeable addition to literature a few years ago. It is a guide-book after all, and rather a cheap piece of literature. — De Paris a San Francisco, par Lambert de Sainte-Croix (Calmann Lévy, Paris), is a bright little volume containing the notes and impressions of an intelligent Frenchman, who looks at America through rose-colored spectacles, and shares his pleasant experiences with the reader. A traveler of this sort is a rara avis in the United States.

Fiction. — Fitz James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens and other stories has been republished in a paper-covered edition. (Scribners.) There is a vividness about O’Brien’s best work which is pretty sure to attract anew successive generations of young readers.—The Adventures of Timias Terrystone, by O. B. Bunce (Appleton), is a novel in autobiographic form, which recalls Sterne by its mannerism, but being written in the latter part of the nineteenth century is less broad and less long. It is an amiable little book, by a man who plainly is in love with literature and art.— Across the Chasm (Scribners) is rather a severe title for a light, agreeable book. It is in effect a study of manners among gentlemen in the North and the South. The author apparently intends to make much of deeper distinction, but forgets herself and relapses into what is more of a young lady’s judgment of men. The book is, nevertheless, so graceful in many ways that its timidity and faintness of touch become almost virtues.— Within the Capes, by Howard Pyle (Scribners) is a story rather than a novel, and has a special element of attractiveness in its representation of life, apparently, on the Delaware. The time is the early part of this century, and the scenes are amphibious, half on water and half on land. — Pulpit and Easel, by Mary B. Sleight (Crowell), is a serious story which rests for its principal concern on the choice of a profession. Shall one be a minister or an artist ? and if an artist, may he not still be a religious man, and in some subtle way a preacher ? The art of the book is hardly equal to the sermonizing. — The Harpers have begun a Handy Series, issued weekly, and containing miniature novels like Mignon, or Bootle’s Baby, by J. S. Winter.—In the Franklin Square Library (Harpers) recent numbers are Boulderstone, by William Sime ; Gerald, by Eleanor C. Price ; Lester’s Secret, by Mary Cecil Hay; The Shadow of a Crime, by Hall Caine ; A Week of Passion, by Edward Jenkins ; Captain Brand of the Centipede, by H. A. Wise ; and Lazarus in London, by F. W. Robinson. — Without a Home, by E. P. Roe (Dodd, Mead & Co.), is published in quarto paper form. The publishers state : “The other works of E. P. Roe are not published in this form, and can be had in the regular 12mo edition only, at $1.50 per volume.” We believe the same legend is at the head of Opening of a Chestnut Burr.—Tales from Many Sources (Dodd, Mead & Co.) is a collection of brief tales principally from one source, — the English magazines. The first three volumes of the series, which is a very good one, embraces stories by Thomas Hardy, F. Anstey, Stevenson, Norris, Charles Reads, William Black, and the author of John Inglesant.

Social and Economical Science.— The Life of Society ; a General View, by Edmund Woodward Brown. (Putnams.) Mr. Brown treats his subject in a thoughtful manner, but it is his manner rather than his matter which suggests thought. There is a serious consideration of commonplaces, but a failure, we think, to get hold of radical principles. For example, he speaks as if man became a social and political being, and does not seem to conceive of him as essentially social and political. It is a little odd also to find a volume upon society and scarcely a hint of the nation as determining society. —Working People and their Employers, by Washington Gladden (Funk & Wagnalls): a volume of sermons in form but containing a freer and more candid handling of the theme than one generally finds in sermons. Dr. Gladden has a strong desire to bring the immutable truths of the gospel to bear upon the problems which especially concern laborers and employers to-day. He has translated Paul into American. —Man’s Birthright, or the Higher Law of Property, by Edward H. G. Clark. (Putnams.) Mr. Clark, starting with the premise that the earth belongs to mankind, and the land of the United States to the people of the United States, proceeds to the conclusion that persons occupying land are tenants of the people and should pay rent in the form of an income tax ; that the money thus collected should pay all the expenses of government, federal, state, and municipal. The book is in a measure a correction of Mr. Henry George’s doctrine of the nationalization of land. — Pocket Tariff of the United States Customs Duties, by John G. Wilson (G. W. Sheldon & Co., New York), contains full information arranged in alphabetical order. It also has full shipping instructions for importers and tourists. We are pleased to see that Chinese bombs as fire-crackers have to pay a duty of 100 per cent. — A Primer of Tariff Reform, by David A. Wells (Cassell), like most catechisms, arranges the answers according to the views of the catechizer. The catechumen is gagged. — Society in London, by a foreign resident (Harpers), is apparently written to catch some of the breezes which have been blowing Society in Berlin into popularity. It is scarcely so penetrating as that clever work. It is indeed little more than a rapid survey of the subject such as a dozen journalists in London might make on demand. — Two recent numbers of Questions of the Day (Putnams) are The Progress of the Working Classes in the last half century, by Robert Giffen, and Defective and Corrupt Legislation, the cause and remedy, by Simon Sterne. — Alfred F. Sears presented to the American Society of Civil Engineers an interesting paper on Commercial Cities ; the law of their birth and growth, which has been published in the Transactions of the society. He reaches the conclusion : “Railroads have increased the commercial wealth and machinery, but as yet they have not, and I dare to say they never will, divert trade from the line of direction of natural channels.” — The third biennnial report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Illinois has been issued by the state printer. (H. W. Rokker, Springfield, Illinois.) The little biographies of blacksmiths and other laborers are interesting reading, all the more so, that no names are given. Here is one of No. 41, a laborer, Irish. “Earnings of father, $400. Condition : Family numbers six — parents and four children, three boys aged one, two and three, and one girl five years of age. Occupy a house containing three rooms, for which they pay a rental of $10 monthly. The parents are intelligent, and seem to be satisfied and enjoy life. Being young people, they take little interest as yet in labor organizations.” As the newspapers say, the italics are our own.

Humor. Flatland, a Romance of Many Dimensions (Roberts), is a diverting skit by some mathematician, who has amused himself with imagining a world made up wholly of two dimensions, length and breadth. — Lyra Bicyclica: sixty poets on the wheel, by Joseph G. Dalton. (E. C. Hodges & Co., Boston.) Parodies and other frivolities which may have amused the writer, and have done him no harm, A reader, however, with choice of torture, might prefer to be broken on another wheel.

Conduct.—Oats or Wild Oats ? common-sense for young men, by J. M. Buckley. (Harpers.) The readers presumed by this book are young men of vague notions about their plans of life. Accordingly, a survey is attempted of various professions and occupations from farmer to dentist, and advice is given on the choice to be made, as also upon various other subjects of conduct. The multiplicity of subjects saves the writer from being tedious on any one of them, but the common-sense and commonplace are pretty interchangeable. — Words of Advice, for Parents, and Young Men and Women, by a Father. (Cleaves, Macdonald & Co., Boston.) More good-sense: more commonplace. But, after all, is not commonplace safer than paradox ?

Science. A Reprint of Annual Reports and other papers on the Geology of the Virginias is the title of a work drawn from the several publications of the late W. B. Rogers. (Appleton.) The reports originally proceeded from the Geological Survey of Virginia, and are reprinted in their order of appearance from 1834 to 1841, while later papers appearing as late as 1882 are added. Very interesting and complete colored maps and charts accompany the volume. Professor Rogers was at the head of the survey, and the lapse of time of course does not impair the value of results. The book is in effect a directory to the mineral wealth of the slumbering commonwealth.—The Lenape Stone, or the Indian and the Mammoth, by H. C. Mercer. (Putnams.) A boy picked up a stone in the field of a farm in Pennsylvania. He sold it to another boy, and the second found another stone, nine years after the first, which fitted the first find. The Lenape Stone, thus found, contains a rude scratching of a mammoth, as well as some scenes in Indian life. Hence a laborious examination, much agonizing on the part of scientific experts, and hence this serious little monograph, in which all the facts are carefully garnered, and a whole museum of similar facts brought together for purposes of comparison.—Jelly-Fish, Star-Fish, and SeaUrchins, being a research on primitive nervous systems, by G. J. Romanes, constitutes the fortyninth volume of the International Scientific Series. (Appleton.) The book, besides its uses to the general reader, appeals to the working physiologist. We miss a reference to the nervous prostration of Medusa. Sea-urchins could scarcely be expected to be thus affected. Their business naturally would be to make others nervous.

Medicine and Hygiene.— How to Drain a House, practical information for householders, by George E. Waring, Jr. (Holt.) Colonel Waring appears as the housewife’s ally in her contest with the plumber, by providing her with an intelligible conception of what can and what cannot be done in house drainage. It is a comfort to learn that we really are better off with drains than without, and that the tendency is toward simplicity of apparatus. — A convenient volume, Diet for the Sick, has been prepared by the experienced Mrs. Henderson. Tt is a treatise on the values of foods, their application to special conditions of health and disease, and on the best methods of their preparation. Its most practical service will be as a cook-book for the sick room. (Harpers.)—The Invalid’s Tea-Tray, by Susan Anna Brown (J. R. Osgood & Co.), is an attractive and admirably arranged little volume that really supplies a want, — which can hardly be said of most new cookery-books.