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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 24, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, August LETHBRIDGE HERALD-5 A collection of brief book reviews "Cezanne" by Marcel Brion, (Doubleday Canada Ltd., 95 "If Cezanne's painting is accepted we may as well set fire to the Henri Rochefort 1903, "the painting of a drunken "abortive "a failure." Such were the epithets that described Cezanne and his art throughout his life. A lesser artist might have succumbed to the criticism and left his work, but Cezanne, though pained by the remarks, con- tinued to produce prodigiously up to his death. Who was he? Even his close friends did not really know him. His self-portraits in which he tried so hard to conceal his inner nature revealed only too clearly his aloofness to the world. This book with its numerous color plates traces the development of his art throughout his life, its influence on other painters and vice versa. An interesting book written on good quality paper but poorly bound. ELSIE MORRIS "The Sundance Coyote" by Dr. Michael Fox (Longman Canada Limited, 93 pages, black and white il- lustrations in pen by Dee Eleven-year-old Nicoline Rickard thoroughly enjoyed this book but refused to write the review. She loves all animals, she thinks, and passages like. porcupine that Sundance discovered had been picking at the remains of a dead skunk, but there was little left for the coyotes to eat." fill her with wonder at the comings, goings and doings in the animal world. My own special interest in this book is the wonderful line drawings by Dee Gates. In book illustration, there is nothing so nice as a lively black line with action and spontaneity. You'll enjoy the drawings she has made of Sundance, a coyote born to a harsh life. The author shows how all life in the semi-arid scrubland is interrelated. This is the kind of a book you might enjoy reading to your own children. D'ARCY RICKARD "The Rash Adventurer: The Rise and Fall of Charles Edward Stuart" by Margaret Forester (Seeker and War- burg Ltd., 331 Coming out at almost the same time as another history of the "Bonnie Prince" by David Daiches, this book sets itself up for a comparison between the two. Forester's book is easier reading, flowing freely as the author makes it more of an enjoyable reading experience than a history. Mrs. Forester doesn't go into the gory detail of the Cullo- dean battle that Daiches does and her overall battle scenes seem to Suffer for this lack of gory detail. She also paints the prince as somewhat less of a buffoon than Daiches does. Perhaps her lack of battle detail and her kinder look, though not all that kind, is due to her feminine outlook. The book, however, doesn't suffer markedly from these slight differences and over-all it is the better book of the two from an enjoyment point of view. GARRY ALLISON "They're Playing Our Song" by Max Wilk (McClelland and Stewart Limited, 295 Reminiscences of song writers of a by-gone era take you behind the scenes for such old favorites as Tea for Two, April In Paris, Oklahoma and The Good Ship Lollipop. Com- posers and lyricists such as Jerome Kern, Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Oscar Hammerstein are brought to the fore in this delightful treasury of the past half cen- tury. A must for music buffs! ANNE SZALAVARY "The Albatross and Other Stories" by Susan Hill (Penguin Books, 174 Before reading this book, I read a book by Virginia Woolf, There is a marked similarity in the manner of writing. Both use a flow of consciousness style that allows the writer to jump from one scene to the next and make the jump seem natural. Susan Hill's writing is quite different in its subject matter, however. Hill's stories have an element of the grotesque; unusual characters and rather strange tales to tell. Her characters are lonely boys who are despised because they are a little slow; old women who long for the adventure they were too cautious to try before; children caught in events in which they have no desire to participate. The stories are fascinating and the endings always a surprise. Miss Hill is an excellent writer and her book makes good reading. JANET RUSSELL "Freaky Friday" by Mary Rodgers, Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited 145 A truly funny story about a girl who wakes up one morn- ing to find herself in her mother's shoes (or The complications and disasters she meets during this ex- change of roles are a great revelation to her and the im- aginative handling of the story provides a look at the genera- tion gap. GERTA PATSON "Needlepoint for the Whole Family" by N. Mortellito (Fitzhenry and Whiteside Ltd., 187 Have you ever wanted to know why needlepoint has become so popular, and where it all began? Why most stitching instructions for needlepoint are so difficult to follow? How can you learn to shade? How to use the right stitches to achieve the most striking effects? Nina, who runs the highly successful Nina Needlepoint, Inc.. not only answers these important questions, but also gives clear and concise instructions in basic needlepoint techniques for you and everyone else in your family. She suggests and maps out learning projects that anyone can do, shows you more advanced stitchery, and provides new inspiration and goals for every needlepointer. This book is written for peo- ple with all levels of needlepoint experience, so that even if you have never done needlepoint before, you will be able to produce a professional piece of work to be proud of. Almost all the projects pictured in this book are done by non-proft.ssionals. CHRIS STEWART "Bridget" by Ben LeRoy, Fitzhenry Whiteside Limited, 149 An imaginative and humorous story about a schoolgirl who loves a boy in her class who cannot stand the sight of her. Bridget's cunning attempts to make David take notice of her and the misfor- tunes and troubles that meet her are related in a sensitive and humorous way and make very entertaining read- ing. GERTA PATSON "The Young Grizzly" by Paige Dixon (Atheneum, 106 Besides getting a background on the early life of the grizzly, the young reader gets a pleasant story to go along with it. A book like this is ideal for a youngster learn- ing about nature, and will give him an early introduction to fine reading. GARRY ALLISON "Strike Deep" by Anthony North (Fitzhenry Whiteside Limited, 246 To steal top secret informa- tion from the Pentagon is no easy task. To do it without putting a foot inside the place seems impossible but that's what Doug Powell does. With the help of an old army buddy he raids Pentagon files, demands a ransom from the U.S. government, and finally tries to do an extra deal with the Russians. TERRY MORRIS THE VOICE OF ONE Dr. Frank S. Morley Reflections Ervin Book reviews Introducing Russian people to western world "Who are the by Wright Miller, (Faber and Faber, 240 pages, distributed by Beginning with the founda- tion of the earliest Russian state based on Kiev down to the revolution, the years of Stalin and up to the present day this book introduces the Russian people to the western reader as it has seldom been done before. The author concentrates on those aspects of Russian character that always seem such a puzzle to the westerner: the Russian's sense of community that helped to develop the vast ex- panses, their optimism as well as their passivity and lack of initiative that explain so much of their past, why serfdom survived for so long and why democracy has never had a chance. The tremendous in- dustrialization, the. education and public health programs and all aspects of the gigantic political drive to bring Russia fast out of her backwardness are discussed in the same dis- passionate fashion as if by the revolutionaries or Stalin themselves. Russia was beaten because of her cultural, political, in- dustrial and agricultural backwardness by the Mongol Khans, by the Turkish Beys, by the Polish-Lithuanian gentry, by the Swedish feudal lords, by the Anglo-French capitalists and by the Japanese barons. The old and corrupt super structure was blamed for this and every feature of it culture, science, morality, family and religion was to give way to a new ruthlessly effective political system bas- ed on the virtues of in- dustrialization and the virtues of the industrial worker. The great irony was, of course, that Russia, being a predominantly agricultural state, had not yet reached the stage and conditions from which the ideology of Marx- ism had sprung but whose basic guidelines were nevertheless ruthlessly followed. If enlightenment since has spread over the whole of. Russia, if so much squalor and disease was swept away and so much talent fostered why was all initiative frozen and killed off? Why was all in- tellectual and spiritual free- dom bulldozed into the ground and so much monotony im- posed? Was it so that the mass of people would fit into the straightjacket of the Soviet political machine? The author finds there is lit- tle fire left of the lodestar that once guided the revolutionaries and the average Russian's mind is preoccupied with mundane interests like more and better consumer goods. His sense of community has suffered and his ideals aspire to the posses- sion of a motorcar. The political system has remained static and is ill- adapted to cope with the better educated populace and in dire need to be modified. Yet ho one in authority seems to know how to go about it without the surrender of power and the principle behind such power. Perhaps remnants of the old Bolshevik pride that wanted to convince the world of a perfect system does not per- mit a revision or analysis of its shortcomings. The fact that all potential talent has for decades been systematically sifted out and incapacitated in forced labor camps may be another reason. The reader has the impression that the Russian population has little chance of changing the inflexi- ble super-structure, which in essence is not that much different from the previous one. The complex system of mind control that has been in operation for decades and the terror and dishonesty instilled by it must inhibit any form of self-expression or criticism and the fate of Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov, Amalrik and others gives ample proof of this. Thus the average Russian may have reached the level of convictions of his western consumer brother and in. a decade or two perhaps his material well-being. Whether the great experiment was worth the upheaval and the searing wound that has been inflicted on this nation (when the ultimate goal was to have been universal happiness and when in reality it is mere material will have to be answered by history. GERTA PATSON Local author's study of fiction "Vertical World, Man and Landscape in Canadian Prairie Fiction" by Laurence Ricou, (University of British Columbia Press, Almost any book written about the fiction of the Cana- dian prairies is met with enthusiasm by those interested in Canadian literature. A book written by a local author is doubly intriguing. Vertical World is an analysis of Cana- dian prairie fiction; it is written by University of Lethbridge English Professor, Laurence Ricou. Dr. Ricou suggests that a unifying theme in prairie fic- tion is the stark, upright isola- tion of man on the huge, flat prairie. He illustrates his theory through the work of Robert Stead, F. P. Grove, Martha Ostenso, Sinclair Ross, W. O. Mitchell and a handful of other contem- porary Canadians. Vertical World, like its title, is a book of ups and downs. Dr. Ricou's style tends to be a bit academic and lacks the spon- taneous humour expected by anyone acquainted with its author. As a guide to prairie fiction, however, the book is great. Dr. Ricou follows a very consistent pattern in his handling of works: the book is named, a connection is usually made with the book or books immediately preceding it, the story is summarized, and the theme is interpreted. At times I felt that the theme could have been more clearly expounded. I felt myself often searching for thematic significance. This is a good serious work on prairie literature. It's a tri- fle flat and dry but so is the subject matter. Both are worth settling into. JUDI WALKER More about the Rabbi "Tuesday the Rabbi Saw Red" by Harry Kemelman (Clarke, Irwin, 276 The fifth of Kemelman's rabbi philosopher-detective stories concerns itself with the activities of a small Chris- tian college where Rabbi Small is teaching a course of Jewish studies. Interwoven Machiavelli and Nixon A friend writes that the astonishing thing about Nixon is that even now he has no awareness of the extent of his wrongdoing. This called to mind Johann Herder's descrip- tion of Machiavelli as an honest and upright man, a realistic observer of human nature, and a sincere patriot. The general opinion of Machiavelli, however, is that he was the in- carnation of cunning, deceit, and ruthlessness. Nixon was regarded as the supreme politician, but Machiavelli has been described as the renovator of modern political science, "the Galileo of who recognized in politics an autonomous form of human activity, "politics for polities' unconditioned by any moral or religious assumptions. Because of Machiavelli's teaching politics has the con- notation of deceit and crooked dealing. It has been held by astute historians that the English always realized the truth of Machiavelli's dogmas, but did not think they should be talked about. Though Edmund Spenser would condemn the Italian's theories, he would make use of them in prac- tice recommending for Irish subjugation the strongest measures of violence and cruelty. T. S. Eliot says that "no great man has been so completely misunderstood. Machiavelli was no fanatic; he merely told the truth about humanity." He did not believe in the liberal myth of human goodness in human nature. Men, said Machiavelli, are "Wicfced, un- grateful, fickle, prone to simulation and dis- simulation, afraid of danger, greedy of and the affairs of the world are carried on by similar men. You can count on this wickedness in human nature, he says. "The sky. the sun. the elements, and men have not changed in any way from the way they were in antiquity." Thus in Machiavelli there is a profound pessimism. Why is it so seldom noticed that Nixon's smile is never warming? The first remark made by a reporter was that he "liked Ford's Ford believes in people. with student protest, professional jealousy, murder, and romance is a generous amount of Jewish theology. I enjoyed the novel more than the previous ones and now impatiently await what will happen to the Rabbi on Wednesday. ELSPETH WALKER Machiavelli was a true man of the Renaissance. He believed neither in Christianity nor Christian morals. "Virtu" for him was a quality of personal force, not "virtue." He could see in mass murder a "splendid and only a most malignant "Fortune" prevent his hero, Caesar Borgia, from achieving his design of a unitary state. He is angry at Giampaolo Baglioni for letting the Pope and unarmed Cardinals to enter Perugia when he could have "destroyed them." an act which would have displayed a greatness far transcending any infamy or danger that could attach to it." Christian virtues destroyed Rome. To be merciful and truthful is to be stupid. It is better and safer to be feared than loved. Appear virtuous when possible and as a matter of policy have an official religion. Do not allow bigger men than yourself to be associated with you. When you are secure, eliminate enemies. Remember that no high objectives can be gained by force alone, but cunning is essential. "In the actions of men, and especially of princes, the end justifies the means." Speaking of Machiavelli's advice on the use of poison, Voltaire remarked. "I would advise the enemy general to dine with him in times of truce." In his study of Machiavelli. Giuseppe Prezzoni thinks of him as "our contem- porary." "Today we find Machiavelli everywhere." He believes that the govern- ment of the U.S. "will continue to be Machiavellian under cover of sanctimonious intentions and humanitarian proposals." If this has any truth in it, then Nixon should be considered a natural production of a system and a way of thought and life One should carefully reflect on the large number of Americans in high positions who have been prosecuted recently for crimes. How many Americans consider that the chief fault of Nixon was incredibly bad fortune, like that of Caesar Borgia? SATURDAY TALK -By Norman Smith Pieces of contentment Edgar Collard has attempted a most dif- ficult thing and pulled it off as though it were no trouble at all. He has composed an anthology under the title. The Art of Contentment, without it being treacly, smug or groaning with cliches. In this abrasive age contentment has an un- manly sound, indifferent to the plight of the ill, oppressed and revolutionary. Who dares write a book about contentment! But Collard's wide reading and ranging mind have not garnered for us a herd of contented cows, but men and women who dis- covered that even the most restless, dedicated and rough-hewn "builders" must pause now and then in stillness and thanksgiving, to listen, to see, and to feel. Edgar Collard, long the erudite editor of the Montreal Gazette, does not blather about a life of contentment, but of the art of allow- ing contentment to come into our lives for an hour or so, perhaps even a day, at a time. His witnesses tell of a kind of peace of mind which does not pass understanding but is open to all, the travelled and untravelled, the rich and poor, the well and unwell. The title of this book might well have been The Wonder that is at Hand, reminiscent of Rachel Carson's. The Sea Around Us. The anthology's leisurely stroll through the sources of contentment seems to me to miss only the company of a dog and the elixir of sport nothing here on the wind in the sails, snow on the ski trails or footprints in the bunkers, nor on mending the verandah and making'the waterpump to sing again. It is interesting how many of Collard's folk paraphrase the biblical injunction not to hoard for the morrow. Dr. Johnson allowed that "he who sees before him to his third dinner, has a long prospect." Jeremy Taylor declared that "if it be well today, it is madness to make the present miserable by fearing it may be ill tomorrow." Anne Lindbergh in speaking of life and of love bids us remember that "the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern." Going far to find what is at home is discuss- ed by many. Ernerson argued that "he who travels to be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels from himself." Saint-Exupery said "distance is not to be found, it melts away; escape has never led anywhere. What we are worth when motionless, is the question." "Remote from asked Irwin Edman. What to do -about the blues, or misery- measuring? Thoreau recalled that "when in doleful dumps I hear a cockerel crow far or near, I think to myself, 'There is one of us well, at any rate'." Hamerton would have us just hang ir. there: "Occasional melancholy is not inconsistent with a preponderance of hap- piness, as a landscape (and music) may be both beautiful and sad." Collard leaves aside any massive assessments of what life is about and selects, rather, the flashing insights, the stil! small voices. William Ellery Channing disliked the old simile about life starting full and running to empty: "Life is not a little cup dipped from the stream of time. It is itself a stream." Pearl Buck felt no need for any other faith than in human beings. "Like Confucius of old. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it'that I cannot think of heaven and the angels. If there is no other life, then this one has been enough to make it worth being born." Many seem to have found it wise to avoid luggage, real or imagined. Albert Einstein "shaved himself with the same soap as that which he used for washing. "Two cakes of soap are far too complicated for me." Herbert Spencer found a picnic of friends better than a high society banquet: "By the time we have got ready our elaborate ap- paratus by which to secure happiness, the happiness is gone. It is too subtle to be con- tained in these receivers, garnished with compliments and fenced round with eti- quette." George Gissing found that "beneath simple roofs the hour of tea has something in it of sacred the mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose." Dr. Johnson -dining with his next door neighbor and his attentive housekeeper exclaimed "Sir we could not have had a better dinner had there been a 'Synod of Cooks." What a variety of observers have found an overbearing need to get off alone sometimes! Anne Lindbergh: "When one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others. For me, the core, the inner spring, can best be rewound through solitude." John Buchan had often thought that nothing could be better than the life of a country minister "in some place where the winters were long and snowy, and a man was forced to spend much of his days and all his evenings in a fire-lit library." William Hazlitt: "I can enjoy society in a room; but out of doors nature is company enough for me. I am never less alone than when alone." Walter Scott: "I preferred the pleasure of being alone to waiting for visitors, and have often taken a bannock and a bit of cheese to the wood or hill, to avoid dining with company." Oliver Wendell Holmes in his knife-edged shell on the river and bay in early morning, "lying there moored unseen, in loneliness so profound remote from life.. why should I tell of these But I'm aware this slap-hazard filching from Edgar Collard's discerning anthology loses the gradual and unostentatious creation of a mood which his tender care builds up. At no time does he burden the soul with contentment, and his running accompani- ment is that contentment is best when earned. As in George Eliot's description of Mrs. Poyser "standing at the house door with her knitting, in that eager leisure which came to her when the afternoon cleaning was done." Agassiz exclaimed, "My only trouble is that I have not enough time for my work. Please give me the hours which you say are a bore to you, and I will receive them as the most precious of presents." How variously Collard's "friends" have used their time for contentment at work or play. President Hoover: "That presidents have taken to fishing in an astonishing fashion seems to me worthy of investigation. I think I have discovered the reason: it is the silent Logan Pearsall Smith, depressed one day on the Underground, wondered why he'd take the lift to the weary world above, then he thought of the subtle happiness of reading. This was enough, this joy not dulled by Age. this polite and unpunished vice, this selfish, serene life-long intoxication. There are love scenes here between men and moonlight, rain, gardening, walking alone, silence, conversation as distinct from talk, music at a concert, music in the woods, on the joys of going out to things and (by Priestley) on Not Going. And an ode on sleep that comes with slow and hushing degrees "like a mother detaching her hand from that of her sleeping child." Contentment. It is an art, I suppose. Edgar Collard doesn't force the pace, he simply shows how others have found it, some almost despite themselves, as Louis Bromfield loved fishing in Brittany "although (wrote his daughter) it was not in my father's nature to endure contentment for The Art of Contentment, edited by Edgar Andrew Collard (Doubleday, 222 ;