Books: The Editors Like
THE MIDWIFE OF PONT CLERYby Flora Sandstrom. (John Day, $3.50.) The French tradition of sexual horseplay in the provinces and the English tradition of genteel romance in the shires are fused with improbable success in this featherweight novel.
CLAUDINE AT SCHOOLby Colette. (Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, $3.50.) An early work but already showing the vitality and acute insight typical of Colette. It’s a pity that the English translator has found no better solution for slang and dialect than the obvious Britishisms employed here.
THE HOUR AFTER WESTERLYby Robert M. Coates. (Harcourt, Brace, $3.50.) Mr. Coates writes with dour humor and invariable understatement, qualities which make his occasional skids into fantasy all the more persuasive. These short stories are held together by a point of view which may be described as resignedly apprehensive.
The of Reason
THE FIRST FOUR GEORGESby J. H. Plumb. (Macmillan, $4.50.) The private characters and public actions of the Hanoverian kings are described with remarkable thoroughness in less than 200 pages, and the Georges prove to be much less dull than tradition has labeled them.
ROGUES, ROYALTY, AND REPORTERSby William Bragg Ewald, Jr. (Houghton Mifflin, $6.00.) Items from eighteenth-century English newspapers, including political controversy, domestic rows, terrifying medical advertisements, scandal, crime, and, once in a while, plain news. Revealing and amusing stuff.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON IN THE AMERICAN TRADITIONby Louis M. Hacker. (McGrawHill, $4.75.) Concentrating On Hamilton as a thinker, the author gives a lucid account of his development as a politician and economic theorist, and of his influence during his own time and since.
THE BIRDSby Aristophanes;AN ENGLISH VERSION BY DUDLEY FITTS. (Harcourt, Brace, $4.00.) Another of Mr. Fitts’s brilliant, freewheeling translations from the Greek comic playwright. One of the many delightful things about these punpacked, quotation-crammed versions of classic plays is their unmistakable playability.
THE WORLD OF THE INCAby Bertrand Flornoy. (Vanguard, $4.50.) After describing the conquest of Peru, Mr. Flornoy works back, via many documents and some conjecture, to a reconstruction of the fallen empire, an unusual and rewarding approach.
BYZANTIUM: GREATNESS AND DECLINEby Charles Diehl. (Rutgers University Press, $8.50.) The first volume of the projected Rutgers University Byzantine series is less a formal history than an extended interpretative essay analyzing the characteristics of the Byzantine Empire, balancing its strengths and weaknesses and summarizing its achievements.
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLSby John M. Allegro. Criterion, $4.00.) One of the specialists busy deciphering the scrolls describes the process and the nature and origins of the texts. He also records the involved chicanery stirred up by their discovery; the tale reads like an Ambler thriller.