For the Heathen Are Wrong
By LITTLE, BROWN
THIS is the unusual autobiography of an unusual man, a cosmopolitan Hungarian Jewish intellectual who found purposeful direction in life when he fully accepted the Roman Catholic faith and the Roman Catholic view of life. This is not a familiar human experience and is psychologically well worth the telling. But there is much more in Mr. Bagger’s story of a life that began in Budapest, that took the author to New York, where he became an American citizen, then took him back to some of the most beautiful spots of old Europe, to Vienna, to Lake Geneva, to the Riviera. It reached a dramatic climax when the wave of German mechanized warfare uprooted Mr. Bagger from the retreat in the pine woods on the coast of southwestern France where he was leisurely at work on an opus magnum that was to interpret history in terms of the philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and sent him a refugee to America. What was the author’s personal disaster was his readers’ gain: for the book, besides being an absorbing piece of personal self-interpretation, is a fine expression of the body and spirit of the cosmopolitan, civilized Europe which has gone down, no one can say for how long, under the impact of the new streamlined barbarism. It is replete with ideas and epigrams, and with an epicurean discriminating appreciation of many things in France, of wines and foods and architecture and Riviera sunsets and the writings of Stendhal, on whom Mr. Bagger is an expert. And it is written in an uncommonly fine English style, W. H. C.