To the masses of memoirs which fill the bookshops of today, a new title has been added. During the twelve years which have elapsed since the World War, there has been published the usual large amount of such literature which follows all wars. Now that the traces of smoke on the Western Front have cleared away, people are looking back and leisurely regarding the scenes which the pressure of the moment prevented them from clearly visualizing before.
It will be interesting to compare the memoirs of Marshall Foch, released today, with those of Pershing, now appearing in "The New York Times". The two generals, so closely associated with each other and yet so divergent in their opinions, are giving their last defenses. Foch will speak no longer while Pershing can have little more to say.
The value of a memoir is frequently hidden behind a camouflage of misleading statements. Essentially defenses, they are apt to be prejudiced and to possess little historical force. Mistakes of the hour are explained and smoothed over after years of considering their possible justification. The real worth of a memoir is expressed by its revelation of the true character of the author. His defense of himself and criticism of others is the finest estimate of his ability. That which needs defense is weak and doubtful by hypothesis.