The Crimson Bookshelf
THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD AFFAIRS, 1931, by Walter Lippmann, in collaboratino with W. O. Scroggs. Barper and Brothers, New York, 1932. $3.
IN the first volume of what is to be an annual series depicting the foreign relations of the United States during the preceding year, the agile and internationally poised pen of Mr. Lippmann has put on paper a translation of the words which have been in the writing by moving fingers throughout the world during the hectic 12 months which went to make up the year 1931. Prepared almost contemporaneously with the events which are discussed within its covers, Mr. Lippmann's book has been published with the admitted purpose of orienting somewhat public judgment of happenings which have not faded from sight.
Whether as a record of the turbulent history of 1931, or as an interpretation of the history of that period, therefore, the book deserves a place on the shelves of one who would like to consider himself well informed on current events. Particularly is the book of value as a means of bridging the gap between the actual occurrence of history-making steps in foreign relations, and the appearance of the more thoroughly digested accounts for which one must wait considerable time. With headlines succeeding one another in a rapid course of attractive, yet often superficial heights, a Hoover Moratorium, an Anschluss, the fall of the pound, a visit of Grandi or of Laval, soon are forgotten by a large number of those who constitute public opinion; others who still remember these events in 1931 may nevertheless find in 'World Affairs' clear expositions of what actually happened. The book is primarily an enlarged summary, and the writers make no attempt to compose sybilline discourse in their treatise.
To one casually glancing through the pages the many statistics may detract from the attention of the book as something for light reading; surely it is a fairly Draconion dose of material that is presented here. And yet the work lies nearer to the reading category than to that of a historical dictionary.
Depression measures have brought home strongly to hitherto domestically focussed Americans the extent to which national and international fortunes are interlocked. The effects of the Hoover Moratorium are still in process of happening, while Britain's depressed condition is current history as well as that of 1931. For this reason it is to be expected that in the volume of the year 1932, the collaborators will be able to continue the points that are cited in the first book of this series, or better still, in the exible shape of scholarship, revise opinions expressed therein with knowledge of what has come after.
On the whole the book is one of great merit. Many of its conclusions may well stand unchanged after future years have lifted the world out of the present morass. Because it constitutes a fine record, and an exposition of the history of 1931, and particularly on account of the underlying stress of the fact that the United States is vitally concerned in world affairs, and that our country must definitely trim its sails to the international wind currents, the authors of "World Affairs" have inaugurated a series of books that represent a distinct service to us all.