Asia Sees Only Luxuries of West
THE ONLY WAR WE SEEK, by Arthur Goodfriend, Farrar, Straus, and Young, 128 pp., $1.00. This book is obtainable from Cambridge Chapter, A.D.A.; Radcliffe S.D.A.; or Harvard Liberal Union.
The Only War We Seek was published for the Americans for Democratic Action and is not on sale at regular bookstores. See advertisement below for purchasing centers.
This is a book of unusual and compelling photographs, which really show the problem we face in Asia and in most of the world outside the Atlantic community. Firmly stated, the problem is how to take "consistent, practical, concrete action" that will "demonstrate in unmistakable terms our concern for the rank and file of humanity, and our willingness to help them build a better life."
"The only war we seek," it soon appears from Arthur Goodfriend's punch-line text, is not merely the age-old fight that Mr. Truman originally described, against "poverty, disease, hunger and illiteracy." It is a fight right here at home, to broaden the American mind, to understand peasant Asia before too late. Eleanor Roosevelt calls this volume "a pictorial concept of the Point Four Program" and its 150 shrewdly, chosen photographs start out on the Point Four theme--the brutal toil and slow starvation of life in China, contrasted with American welfare. The point is clear--that the "billion or more" people of the underdeveloped regions are increasingly susceptible to the misery that comes of knowing they could be better off, if only the right changes could be made. It is plain that we would do well to get them with us, lest they be organized against us.
Goodfriend's moral is more subtle than that, however. Taking us through the squalor of China, his pictures show us the intelligence, the assiduity, the pride, sensitivity, and courage of ordinary people, and consequently the mixed feelings with which they have received our generosity. At this point we find two individuals confronting each other in Mr. Goodfriend's pages--a baffied American advertising executive, evidently stuck on the problem how further to exploit the "X" in LUX ("New! Faster! Sudsier! So Safe!"), and a primordial-looking Chinese oldster, complete with whiskers and pipe, peering quizzically at us through Chinese eyes. The subsequent illustrations of what WE SAW and what THEY SAW ("WE SAW output raised by tractors and other machinery": "THEY SAW wheels, gears and gasoline that mystified and humiliated them," and so on) is the most mordant and clear-cut comment on the blindness of America's unsuccessful post-war generosity in Asia.
The point gets across the inevitable necessity of seeing our Asian effort through peasant eyes, which is the only way we can start to win. The Only War We Seek is not only a smooth, slick job in format but a real shocker in ideas.