The Tide of Fortune
THE author has picked out a dozen capital instances in history where the Man and the Moment have coincided effectively; and he presents them here as ‘twelve historical miniatures.’ They make agreeable reading. Perhaps it does not matter much that their history is considerably fictionized; for instance, the burden of evidence seems to be that Rouget composed only the first six stanzas of the Marseillaise, and wrote none of the music. The public, however, has long been used to a heavily sophisticated diet of history, and will probably be none the worse for this small dose. M. Zweig’s book has at all events the merit of showing clearly that he ‘ planned it that way,’ and makes no bones of having done so — a merit which might well be sought by other dealers in this sort of confection.