Books: The Editors Like
THE FON AND HIS HUNDRED WIVES by Rebecca Reyher. (Doubleday, $3.95.) Polygamy appears to be a trial to all concerned here, life in the Fon’s remote African territory being reported with acid clarity by an author who is more feminist than anthropologist.
KOMOON! by Heinrich Oberjohann. (Pantheon, $3.00.) A veteran elephant hunter describes his attempts to raise an elephant child. Full of wild adventures in the Lake Chad country, the book is surprisingly bloodless for a hunting tale, and surprisingly touching.
JOURNEY INTO WONDER by N. J. Berrill. (Dodd, Mead, $4.00.) This summary of explorations since 1492 is full of strange information. A fine book for readers who don’t want to resort to the actual reports of Humboldt, Darwin, Cook and company.
THE LOTUS AND THE WIND by John Masters. (Viking, $3.00,) Espionage on India’s northwest frontier in the 1880s permits Mr. Masters to cook up a grand stew of bloodshed, suspense, chicanery, and convincing detail.
RASHOMON by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. (Liveright, $2.50.) The thread unifying these stories is the author’s view of humanity, which he finds consistently depraved and frequently absurd. His style, at least in translation, has none of Jonathan Swift’s wit, but the satirical kinship of mind is unmistakable.
TROY CHIMNEYS by Margaret Kennedy. (Rinehart, $3.00.) There’s a suitably ironic sparkle to Miss Kennedy’s story of a Regency politician troubled with a touch of schizophrenia.
THE WITCH’S THORN by Ruth Park. (Houghton Mifflin with Ballantine Books, $1.50 and 35¢.) While the mistreated orphan heroine holds one’s interest, she is basically merely an excuse for stringing together some flamboyant incidents in a small New Zealand town, where nothing much happens but what does happen goes off like a skyrocket.
THE AMERICAN TEMPER by Richard D. Mosier. (University of California Press, $5.00.) Although no very striking conclusions are drawn by Mr. Mosier, his history of the progress of American thinking about religion, philosophy, politics, and science is solid and informative.
THE REVOLT OF AMERICAN WOMEN by Oliver Jensen. (Harcourt, Brace, $6.00.) The text plays second fiddle in this amusing picture book, which has all the charm of an annotated snoop through a slightly scandalous family album.
WHALING WIVES by Emma Mayhew Whiting and Henry beetle Hough. (Houghton Mifflin, $3.50.) Largely through letters, journals, and ships’ logs, the authors reconstruct the adventures of a number of seagoing ladies, who prove to have been an attractive, gingery, indomitable lot.