The Debater's Guide: by John H. Arnold. Handy Book Corporation. 1923.
In one respect this handy book for debaters has a definite value--it is modern. It is extremely discouraging to pick up such a text book, only to find that the passages quoted as examples are from speeches and writings of the middle of the last century and long ago forgotten. The ardor of the most interested young student is smothered if he is asked to paw over a dry and dusty question brought many years ago to a decision or a working compromise.
The questions proposed for study, and the excerpts cited for analysis and comparison are at least such as might well have been used in the last five years. Of course the old and everlasting bones of contention are there; they are more or less the teething rings of young debaters. In addition to these this volume contains a rather complete analysis of the Philippine question in the phase which it has assumed since the war. There is discussed so contemporary a subject as cancellation of the Allied indebtedness, and for this as for the others a very useful bibliography is appended. Such material fills over half of the volume, and constitutes by far its more valuable portion.
That part of the book which discusses the technique of debating is sketchy and often poorly written. The author, interested perhaps more in debating as a means of teaching younger students to think logically upon contemporary problems, has neglected the recent developments in the art itself. The principles he outlines are those which might be found, often at greater length to be sure, in any text book of the subject. Nevertheless the volume should find a place in school libraries, not so much as the text book which it purports to be, but rather as a guide to the selection of a subject and to the methods of getting at material.