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THE CRIMSON BOOKSHELF

The Blue Circle: by Elizabeth Jordan. The Century Company: New York, 1922. $1.90.

By R. K. L.

Average Americans! Roosevelt hits it, and yet he doesn't hit it, in his title. Who are the average Americans? Are they the men of the A. E. F., always ready to work twenty-five hours a day; to give their lives up to prove their Americanism; with a sense of team play, a sense of help the other fellow and get there, never surpassed; with a resourcefulness that overcame the impossible and a confidence that was streaked with fanaticism? Is it these men, the men of the A. E. F., or is it their returned shades, clamoring for less and ever less work, for more, and ever more pay, disgruntled, unpoised, conning the latest ism of the day in search of conditions which they would hate if they could achieve them? It is possible that the average Americans of the summer campaign of 1918 are the average Americans of the strike season of 1919-20?

And then again, for those who were in the front zone, it is an open secret that "average" is the last term to apply to our First Division, in which Roosevelt fought. There were other good divisions, the 2nd and 3rd and 32nd and 42nd, and others, too; there were also a few pretty poor ones, whose achievements under demobilized conditions are a good deal more conspicuous than they were at the front. But the army knows well enough that the First was our model division. Together with the Second, it did more hard fighting than any other; it produced more good commanding and staff officers, notably General Summerall; it kept going, whether under fire or on the march, under conditions in which most units would have quit; and even in the matter of tactics, in the combination of artillery and infantry on the offensive, it was right in front of anything in either the American or French army. Was it "average" then?

And is Colonel Roosevelt "average"? Not a bit. He is a real chip of the old block, combative, honest, direct--not to say blunt--like his father before him. His war record was first rate; his book is a good deal better than might be expected from an author of little literary experience. There is lots of the Roosevelt personality in the book, and lots of the First Division spirit. For some, and let us hope many readers, that should be sufficient recommendation.

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