SLAVES OF THE SUN by Ferdinand Ossendowski. E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. $3.75.
THIS latest addition to the present flood of travel books will do little to add to the popularity of the class. The author, whom the reader may remember as displaying narrative power to a high degree in "Beasts, Men and Gods" wanders rather confusedly through the French colonies in western tropical Africa and the result is less a description of the country he traversed than an airing of the author's theories on various subjects.
The ethnology of the races in the various colonies he visited is material for several interesting pages, and the difficulties confronting the French in their efforts to civilize the natives and exploit the country are capably discussed. But natural descriptions are usually reduced to cataloguing of the customs of the inhabitants and the birds and animals seen. Evidently the writer realizes his weakness for he makes gallant attempts to raise his style to more inspired heights by the interjection of eloquent rhapsodies that unfortunately end by losing themselves in a cloud of meaningless adjectives.
The author shows how far he has strayed from his best field by the story-telling power he displays. His rendering of the folk tales and other stories told by him makes, them the high-lights of the book. Therein lies the chief hope for readers of this book that his next one will be along lines better suited to his talents.