The Atlantic Bookshelf: Conclusion

A wrap up of book reviews from Edward Weeks

IT could not possibly have been that bullfrog picture of him as he sits posed and well advertised in one of the new Bathtub Eights. It could not alone be the persuasion of that dusty, forced voice that turned the nation’s dials so regularly to the Town Crier. Nor is his fascination based solidly on that old adage (so well capitalized by G. K. Chesterton) that all the world loves a fat man. Alexander Woollcott’s appeal (I see no sex in it) is subtly compounded : he is self-conscious and impudent; he has nimble wit and a neat collection of anecdotes; and again, like the late H. T. P., despite the steady pressure of journalism he maintains an enthusiasm for rare and pretty English. In all his airs and graces there is something of the prima donna, something preposterous. But his charm, whether speaking or writing, is immense. He has replaced Henry L. Mencken as our New York antic best worth watching. Bookstores report that his radioed endorsement of books results in sales the country over; they report — naturally enough, I think — that his own book, While Rome Burns (Viking. $2.75), is in second place on the Best Seller list.