Books of the Month
Text-Books and Education. The Manual Training School, comprising a full statement of its aims, methods, and results, with figured drawings of shop exercises in woods and metals, by C. M. Woodward. (Heath.) Dr. Woodward, is well known as the director and
exponent of the school in St. Louis, and his book is a full and detailed report of the history and practical working of that school. As such it deserves to be studied carefully by all who assume to speak on this topic, the literature of which is rapidly growing in bulk. — How to Succeed as a Stenographer or Type-Writer, by Arthur M. Baker. (Fowler & Wells Co.) A rambling little pamphlet, of no great value, except as the writer incidentally drops hints gathered from his own experience. — Manual of Sonography: a new joined-vowel script system of phonetic shorthand, composed of the elements and in imitation of the ordinary longhand writing, wherein the cognates or pairs, the sharp and flat sounds, are described by strokes of the same length and thickness, being distinguished, separate or conjoined, by an entirely new method. By Rev. D. S. Davies. (Griffith, Farran, Okeden and Welsh, London; Dutton, New York.) What more can we want ? — Cicero’s Cato Major et Laelius, with an introduction and commentary by Austin Stickney. (Harpers. ) This is one of the volumes in Dr. Drisler’s classical series. — A Popular Mineralogy and Geology, prepared from the latest and best authorities in Europe and America, by Katherine E. Hogan. (Lovell.) A manual, apparently intended for elementary use, but it could scarcely be of much service except to a teacher who knew a good deal more than this book contains. It is rather a synopsis of the subject than an easy grades. — Physical Culture for Home and School, Scientific and Practical, by D. L. Dowd. (Fowler & Wells Co.) An introduction brings one shortly to the practical exercises, which are based upon the use of dumb-bells and simple apparatus. A sensible book, serving tolerably well as a substitute for a teacher. — Tales of Chivalry and the Olden Time, selected from the works of Sir Walter Scott, Edited, with notes, by William J. Rolfe. (Harpers.) A little volume which may be serviceable, certainly will be if it displace commonplace reading; bttt we have not lost faith in a system which shall make masterpieces in their entirety a regular part of a child’s education. This book is singularly defective in one particular: it gives the reader no advice as to the novels from which the extracts are taken. — Half-Hours with the Stars ; a plain and easy guide to the knowledge of the constellations, showing in twelve maps the position for the United States of the principal star-groups night after night throughout the year, with introduction and a separate explanation of each map. True for every Year. Maps and Text specially prepared for American Students. By Richard A. Proctor. (Putnams.) A convenient book of reference for any one who would pick out the position of the constellations. — Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 188586. (Government Printing Office, Washington.) The customary mass of classified and tabulated information. One wonders sometimes if it could not be condensed a little more. — Studies in Civil Government, by William A. Mowry. (Silver, Rogers & Co., Boston.) The book is intended for the highest classes in grammar schools and for high schools. It begins with the germ in the town and proceeds to the nation ; but its method is rather to expound existing forms than to trace them to their genesis, or to search for the underlying principles. The book ought to be usef ul with good teachers. — Two more numbers have appeared in the series Monographs on Education. (Heath.) Of these, one is English in the Preparatory Schools, by Ernest W. Huffcut; the other, English in the Schools, by F. C. Woodward. The former is a little more specific in its suggestions ; both are brightly written, but do not go very far. — Phosphorus Hollunder, a novel by Louise von François, with explanatory notes by Oscar Faulhaber. (Heath.) This little edition is for school use, and is provided with a few grammatical notes, — First Steps in Electricity, designed for the entertainment and instruction of young people at home and in school, by Charles Barnard. (Charles E. Merrill & Co., New York.) Simple and inexpensive experiments plainly described. — Common School Law : a digest of the provisions of common and statute law as to the relation of the teacher to the pupil, the parent, and the district; with five hundred references to legal decisions in twenty-eight different States. By C. W. Bardeen. (Bardeen, Syracuse, N. Y.) The fourteenth edition of a book originally published in 1875. Not strictly a legal book, but containing much sensible talk in connection with the subject, by a person of experience. — Hand-Book to accompany the Graphic System of Object Drawing, arranged by Hobart B. Jacobs and Augusta L. Brower. (Lovell.) Useful as containing hints to teachers rather than as a rigid systematic exposition. The graphic system itself is presented by the publisher in four drawing-books. We think the system supposes too much of the child’s power of expression through lines, and attempts too much at the outset, but it suggests many interesting points to teachers. — Annuaire de l’Enseigmnent Primaire, publié sous la direction de M. Jost, inspecteur général de l’instruction publique. Quatrième année. 1888. (Armand Colin et Cie., Paris.) Lists of schools and teachers, with a summary of laws and decrees, with statistics, reports, and a number of general observations. — Practical Lessons in the Use of English, for primary and grammar schools, by MaryF. Hyde. (Heath.) An easily graded exercise hook in writing simple sentences and learning the use of the apparatus of letters.
Sociology and Politics. Outlooks on Society, Literature, aud Politics, by Edwin Percy Whipple. (Ticknor.) This collection of Mr. Whipple’s essays contains little of direct reference to literature, but a good deal that relates to society in its larger sense, to politics, and to business. Mr. Whipple was a shrewd observer, and had a lively interest in movements about him. He often turned aside from purely literary studies, and published articles which, reflected this interest in current affairs. Readers whose memory covers the last quarter of a century will recall several of the bright papers which are here given. — Slav or Saxon, Number XLIII. of Questions of the Day (Putnams), is a study of the growth and tendencies of Russian Civilization, by William D. Foulke. Mr. Foulke sees an inevitable conflict between Russia and England, and his book is written partly in order to put America on its guard against too free a surrender of its sympathy to Russian autocracy on the score of Russia’s amity with the United States when England was officially inimical. — History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan, and Grammar of their Language, by A. J. Blackbird. (The Ypsilantian Job Printing House, Ypsilanti, Michigan.) This little book, in which the author’s personal history is touchingly mingled with the history of his tribe, is indirectly a plea for justice to the Indian. — Free Rum on the Congo, and What it is Doing There, by William T. Hornaday. (Woman’s Temperance Publication Association, Chicago) In this little book, the author rehearses rapidly the story of the Congo Free State, and shows the peril to the natives in the permission given to the traders in ardent spirits. He rightly apprehends that this Free State is purely a commercial invention, and he points out the disposition of such an organization to disregard any other than commercial considerations. — Gunethics, or the Ethical Status of Woman, by Rev. W. K. Brown. (Funk & Wagnalls.) An argument drawn from a study of the Scriptures for an equality of status between women and men. The book is largely a heavy battering away at a man of straw— Ancestral Tablets, a Collection of Diagrams for Pedigrees, so arranged that eight generations of the ancestors of any person may be recorded in a connected and simple form, by William H. Whitmore. (Cupples & Hurd.) The sixth edition of this ingenious and useful guide to the record of one’s ancestry. A boy who mistook it for a postage-stamp album would do well if he secured the benefit of his mistake and fell to looking up the history of his family.—John Bull, Junior, or French as She is Traduced, by Max O’Rell, with a preface by George C, Eggleston (Cassell), is more detailed and more satisfactory than some of this writer’s recent books. He draws so directly upon
his own daily experience in school-teachingthat his natural keenness and vivacity are not expended on loose generalizations. Though there is a good deal more appearance of epigrammatic wit than reality, the book is not wanting in many pungent observations of the English schoolboy and the French émigré. — A Critical History of Sunday Legislation from 321 to 1888 A. D., by A. H. Lewis. (Appleton.) Dr. Lewis traces the history of Sunday legislation from Rome through the Middle Ages and English history, and then through American history, with a survey of the present state of the law in all the States. His book shows wide reading. It is dispassionate, and though no practical summing up appears, it is evident that the author regards Sunday legislation as an evil to the church. —Uncle Sam at Home, by Harold Brydges. (Holt.) An amusing comparison of American society and manners with those of England. The writer poses as an English traveler in love with America, but one may guess that he has put the Englishman on; at any rate, the accent is American. —In Questions of the Day (Putnams), the forty-sixth number is Property in Land, an essay on the new crusade, by Henry Winn. Mr. Winn does not think that Henry George has found the cure for poverty in his proposed abolition of taxation, save that upon land values. He takes up the current talk of Father McGlynn and Mr. George, and undertakes to refute their main position. He examines in some detail the action of the Massachusetts legislation of 1881 in shifting the taxes on mortgages. — System of Economical Contradictions, or the Philosophy of Misery, by P. J. Proudhon ; translated from the French by B. R. Tucker. (Published by the translator, Boston.) This is the first volume of this section and the fourth of Proudhon’s works. It is interesting to observe how inevitable Proudhon finds the idea of God to be, in his speculation upon society.
Philosophy and Ethics. Reincarnation, a Study of Forgotten Truth, by E. D. Walker. (Houghton ) The general appearance of this book indicates very well the position of the author, Opposite the title-page are five quotations. four from poets. Opposite the first page of the preface are two more quotations. Opposite the table of contents are four passages in prose. Opposite the half-title introduction are two quotations. Opposite the first page of the introduction is a quotation, and opposite the first page of the first chapter, Whatis Reincarnation ? there are five more quotations. Thus before the reader has got his definition of the title of the hook he has had to pass over the dead bodies of poets and philosophers; and thenceafter, before beginning any chapter of the book, he is confronted by a page of quotations. The book is, in fact, an anthology of passages in literature bearing upon the mystery of personal identity in various stages of existence, and though the author attempts something like a philosophical survey, it is plain that he relies chiefly upon the accumulative evidence of the intuitional experience of highly sensitive minds. We do not say that for his purpose he has not taken the most satisfactory course, but it is also to be observed that many of these passages are nothing more than the expression of speculative wonder, and that idealistic poetry is fond of thus toying with the mysteries of life. — Thoughts, second series, by Ivan Panin. (Cupples & Hurd.) The aphoristic form is so seldom used by itself that there is a novelty in this little book. Most books of aphorisms are culled from fuller writings, the plums of thought being deftly extracted from the pudding, but Mr. Panin has no batter so far as we know. The penetration of life to be discovered in these sayings justifies the form and repays the reader, though to most minds the succession of epigrams produces no total effect, and it becomes necessary to take the book as convalescents take food, a teaspoonful every two hours. — The Religious Aspect of Evolution, by James McCosh. (Putnams.) Two lectures on the Bedell Foundation at Kenyon College. Dr. MeCosh endeavors in brief space “ to unfold a panorama of our earth’s history from its commencement to its close,” so far as he can see it by the light of science and of Scripture. — Condensed Thoughts about Christian Science, by Dr. William H. Holcombe. (Purdy Publishing Co., Chicago.) A study of tins demonstration from the point of view of a Swedenborgian.
Hygiene and Domestic Life. The New Christianity ; an appeal to the clergy and to all men in behalf of its life of charity ; pertaining to diseases, their origin and cure ; the use of intoxicants as beverages and for sacramental purposes ; the use of tobacco and opium; the pernicious and destructive habits of women, and the abuse of children ; and the prevailing cruel treatment of girls and young women. By John Ellis, M. D. (Published by the author, New York.) This wordy book attacks evils everywhere recognized to be evils as if it had discovered them. It is written, it appears, from the point of view of a disciple of Swedenborg. — Letters to Elder Daughters, Married and Unmarried, by Helen Ekin Starrett. (MeClurg.) An appeal, in homely, didactic form, to women to make the most of their domestic life. The letters are somewhat general, and not remarkably forcible, but they certainly are well considered, and their advice is unquestionably sound.
Sports and Humor. Whist Universal, an analysis of the game as improved by the introduction of American leads and adapted to all methods of play, by G. W. P. (Ticknor.) Sarah Battle would have approved of this book. It regards the vigor of the game. What the American Constitution is doing to modify English government, that American leads are doing for whist the world over, slowly bringing in the millennium. — Perhaps Seven Hundred Album Verses, compiled by J. S. Ogilvie (J. S. Ogilvie & Co. New York), comes under this head. It must be for fun that most write in albums, yet the proportion of humorous to serious in this book is very slight. Here one may find an abundance of copy-book verses, including some pieces of prose which might be invented as often as the occasion required. — The Tailor-Made Girl, her Friends, her Fashions and her Follies, by Philip H. Welch, with illustrations by C. Jay Taylor. (Scribners.) A piece of satire consisting in but slightly exaggerated report of men and women when nature has been pumped out and art remains. The general effect of so much vacuity is depressing.
History and Biography. The Blood of Abel, by Wilbur F. Bryant. (The Author, Hastings, Nebraska.) An examination of the ease of Louis Riel. It is introduced by a graphic survey of the Northwest. The author is a little given to hyperbole, and in his desire to be epigrammatic and vivid sometimes overshoots the mark, but he is an advocate for a man who has been vilified, and his book may serve to restore the alance somewhat. — The Fighting Veres, Lives of Sir Francis Vere and of Sir Horace Vere, by Clements R. Markham. (Houghton.) The narrative of the English contingent in the Low Countries during the struggle with Spain, as centring about the two brothers, leaders of the forces. Mr. Markham has taken up a picturesque and dramatic subject, and has treated it with studied directness and plainness of style. The book has an incidental value as describing the training-field of some of the early American settlers both in New England and in Virginia. It is well provided with maps and plans, and has a very full index. — In the series The Story of the Nations, the latest issue is The Story of the Goths, from the earliest times to the end of the Gothic dominion in Spain, by Henry Bradley, (Putnams.) It is a cautious and interesting narrative by a candid writer, whose frankness in dealing with the reader is not misplaced. It is a pleasure to find an author who makes so clear a statement of his own qualifications for his task ; we think he has made a better book than he would have made if he had assumed superior power. — History of Prussia under Frederic the Great, 1740-1745 and 1745-1756, two volumes, by Herbert Tuttle. (Houghton.) These two volumes carry forward Mr. Tuttle’s History, the first volume of which was published two or three years ago. They show the same impartial, clear-headed statement of the development of Prussia, and present Frederic as a figure in a group, but a very distinct figure. Mr. Tuttle has the coolness of a philosopher, the patience of a scholar, and the directness of speech of a trained writer. His book will not startle, but it null instruct. — Histoire de la Civilization Contemporaine en France, par Alfred Rambaud. (Armand Colin et Cie., Paris.) A completion of a work, the two previous volumes of which considered the subject down to the period of the Revolution. The subject is taken up topically and with many subdivisions. — Society in Rome under the Cæsars, by William Ralph Inge. (Scribners.) An attempt to seize upon the characteristic points in Roman civilization when at its height, as illustrated by the abundant details classified by scholars under such heads as Religion, Literature and Art, Daily Life, Amusements, Education, Luxury. The writer is industrious, comprehensive, and minute, but can hardly be called brilliant; let us therefore say that he is safe. — Life of Amos A. Lawrence, with extracts from his diary and correspondence, by his son, William Lawrence. (Houghton.) A little volume which, without making any pretense of beinga piece of literature, is admirable for its clear presentation of a most attractive figure. The honorable career of a Boston merchant, who was also a public man in the republican sense of the word, is well worth a history, and Mr. Lawrence has shown a delicate sense of good taste in the selection which he has made from his father’s diary and correspondence. The ethical value of the book is great, for the life is a noble sermon, and so interesting that every one who begins to listen will stay to the close, and then make the application for himself. — The sixth volume of King-lake’s The Invasion of the Crimea (Harpers) follows hard upon the fifth, and completes the work. It is provided with several maps and plans, and with a full analytical index to the entire series of volumes. — Les Trois Rois, by Robert P. Nevin. (Jos. Eichbaum & Co., Pittsburg, Pa.) The first of the three papers which make up this book and give it its fanciful name is an interesting and wellwritten sketch of certain forceful persons who have done much to make Pittsburg what it is. The other two papers are on the Whiskey Insurrection and on Stephen C. Foster. The book is too good to be buried in obscure publication. — Reminiscences and Documents relating to the Civil War during the Year 1865, by John A. Campbell. (John Murphy & Co., Baltimore.) Mr. Campbell was one of a commission of three appointed by Jeff Davis early in 1865, charged with the duty of conferring with President Lincoln on the subject of peace. This pamphlet contains the history of the transactions and some documents substantiating the narrative. The whole is an additional commentary on the characters of Lincoln and Seward.
Poetry. Blooms of the Berry, by Madison J. Cawein. (John P. Morton & Co., Louisville, Ky.) It is not unlikely that this author, having printed his verses, will come to look at them dispassionately, and see that he has been somewhat riotous in his language, has been too fond of poetic-sounding words, and a little too ready to cram his lines with lush — we think lush is correct ? — epithets. But it would be a great pity if in pruning his language he should lose the warmth, the passion, and the enthusiasm of his verses. There is stuff in the poems ; there are many agreeable surprises and noteworthy turns. The faults are chiefly those of immaturity, and an increase of self-control, a more rigorous self-criticism, may well result in poetry which will thrust its excellence forward and set its faults in the background. —Poems, by Lorenzo Sosso. (The West End Printing and Publishing House, San Francisco.) This poet, an Italian by birth, does not lack patriotic enthusiasm for his adopted country ; what he wants is poetic thought and poetic expression. If he would write one line for ten, and then keep his one line a year before printing it, this self-repression might make his verses more acceptable. — Songs from the Seasons, and other Verses, by Dexter Carleton Washburn. (Charles T. Walker, St. Johnsbury, Vt.) Lively verses of an amateurish kind, not without an ease of movement, but rather the pastime of a student who has not yet found any very serious task set him. — The Cabin in the Clearing, and other Poems, by Benjamin S. Parker. (Chas. H. Kerr & Co., Chicago.) This collection of verses is saved from the fate which befalls no better books by a touch of homeliness in the sketches of rustic life on the frontier. If one misses poetry, he finds suggestive scenes in such subjects as The Spelling Match. — A Book of Poems, by Moses Gage Shirley, of Goffstown, N. H. Strictly local poems, for the most part. Mr. Shirley is to be praised for his industry in turning everything in the neighborhood of Goffstown into verse. Is he wise, however, to go as far as Marblehead for a subject ? He ought not to make us shudder over seaside tragedies, as in the poem An Ocean Legend:—
And hid her in her gore.”