Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 11, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, December 11, 1971 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD g Book revieivs Novels: good, bad, and indifferent "Meet Me in the Green Glen" Ijy Robert Peim Wnr- ren (Random House, 371! pages, AMONG the several novels by Robert Peim Warren that I have read 1 would rank this as one of his best. The story is interesting, the charac- ters are strongly drawn, and the narration is beautiful. Cassie Spoltwood is the cen- tral character in the story. When the book begins Cassia has spent several years attend- uig lo the needs of her paralyzed husband whom she has been trapped into marry- ing. A fugitive immigrant, An- gelo Passetto, appears one day and is invited to stay to do chores. Three years later he begins to pay attrition to her and brings her to life again only to dash her down by run- ning after a young mulatto neighbor (actually, Cassie's husband's The par- alyzed husband is .murdered, Angelo is tried and convicted, Cassie confesses to the deed but is whisked away as men- tally unhinged by Murray Guil- fort, a long-time lawyer friend of the murdered man. Angelo is executed; Cassie is confined to a sanatorium; Murray even- tually commits suicide. A person can know that much of the story in advance and still find it absorbing. It is fascinating to see how the au- thor puts the book together. The reader is likely to ba drawn deeply into tbe moods of despair, anxiety, hope and love. Incurably romantic people TV-ill be distressed that the cen- tral characters are all so ter- ribly trapped. The human pre- dicament is almost celebrated by Robert Perm Warren, it might seem. But the fact is that he is just being realistic. The freedom we have for ma- noeuvre is limited for most of us and the acceptance of this may be about UK only way life is made tolerable. DOUG WALKER. "The Greatest Tiling That Almost Happened" by Don Robertson (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 248 pages, Sfi.95, dis- tributed by Longman Can- ada rpHE Greatest Tiling That Almost Happened is one of the greatest things that al- most happened. The novel, the final in the series about Morris Bird III, gave me the impres- sion that Don Robertson was really trying to put across an important theme. But he didn't quite make it. The result is an eerie mixture of sensitive real- ism and pushy surrealism. In this book, the hero of The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread and The Sum and To- tal of Now is a 17-year-old "sex fiend" (winch Morris dis- covers is the same thing as a 17-year-old boy who is in e basketball player dreaming of stardom, snd a victim of leukemia. If the book does have some- thing great to say, it's in Mor- ris' reaction to death. And lie's given plenty of opportunities to react most of the book is centred around death. JUDI WALKER. has R beautiful and sexy wife, two children, a fine home, etc., etc. But missing is thai well known and lesser understood jn ne sais quoi that provoca- tive stimulant for the spirit so necessary lo full enjoyment of life. In a moment of desperate ennui, Luke throws a dice on the lable, having previously made up his mind that if it turns up No. one he will rape his best friend and associate's wife. It does and he does, and both enjoy the experience. From then on the doctor is a dice man. He gives himself a variety of choices and then pro- ceeds according to instruc- tions. His life becomes a kind of picaresque journey into voyeur- ism. The book is ingenious in concept, often witty, over- long and frequently boring. As the doctor's ventures almost all concern variants in the act of copulation, readers of taste and sensitivity may find that his explicit descriptions of dice-induced sex will put them off the act of love without variants for months and maybe forever. JANE HUCKVALE. "Glory by Robert Heinlein (Longman Canada Ltd., 56.95, 288 pNTERTAlNING and excel- lent "knight in shining ar- mor" heroics in a science-fan- tasy setting. Would you answer the follow- ing newspaper ad: "Are you a coward? This is not for yoy. We badly need a brave man, he must be 25- 30 years old, in perfect health, at least six feet lall, weighl about 180 pounds, fluent hi English with some French, proficient in all wea- pons, some knowledge of en- gineering and mathematics essential, willing to travel, no family or emolional ties, in- flomitabiy courageous and handsome of face and figure, permanent employment very high pay, glorious adventure, groat danger." fcar Gordon did- and ac- quired a beautiful woman to protect, a "Sancho Panza" to accompany him and several fantastic adventures to try his nerve and ingenuity. In one heroic struggle he de- stroys his adversary, a grotes- que monster, by feeding it its tail and watching it devour it- self. Great fun. LARHY BENNETT. "The Diceman" a novel by Luke Rhinehart (George J McLeod Ltd., S7.35) PSYCHIATRISTS get bored in middle age, just like a lot of lesser beings who've lost interest in their work. Luke Rhinehart is no exception. He "Summer of the Red Wolf" by Morris L. West (Wm. Mor- row, 317 pages, S7.95, dis- tributed by George J. Mc- Leod is a novel In typical "Western" vein; well writ- ten, human, and with a sus- pense which keeps the reader involved to the very end. It is of conflict between two strong- willed men and the women in their lives in tire lonely isola- tion of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The hero, fed-up with the rat-race in urbanized areas, thinks he will escape life's routine in a slower-paced environment. But while he falls into a different kind of setting, he soon finds that Man's prob- lems are pretty much the same everywhere and that se- renity can't readily be obtain- ed simply by picking a remote spot on the map and hoping for the best. Fans of West will not be disappointed in this. MARGARET LUCKHURST. The National Gallery "The National Gallery of Canada" by Jean Sutherland Boggs (Oxford University Press, 13fi pages, .12 color and 188 black and white plates, book on the Nalional Gallery by its director fills at least two needs. It adds to Die written history of Canadian through Miss Boggs' detail- Books in brief "The Soul of the White Ant" by Eugene N. Marais (Jonathan Cape and Anihony Blond, 139 pages, SG.OO, distri- buted by Clarke, Irwin ami Company ANYONE who might be in- clined to bypass this little book about termites on the sup- position that it might he hope- lessly dull and uninteresting would be making an under- standable but mistaken judg- ment It is an absorbing little Ixwtk with fnseinaling informa- tion about other creatures be- sides lerniiles. Through patient observation Eugene Marais dis- covered Hint ,1 rrrmit-iry func- tions ns an organism in which the stalionriry queen is Die brain. The book was first puli- li.'hed in 1037 following tho au- thor's death. It. is based on ar- ticles Ih.-it had appeared earlier ill an Afrikaans periodical. ed and lively account of the gallery's beginnings (and later years) and also provides beau- tiful color plates of 32 of the gallery's painlings, in addilion lo almost 200 black and white reproductions. For Ihe person wilh a real in- terest in painting, Miss Boggs' history is good read- ing. She obviously has done a great deal of research, but manages lo avoid filling her accounl with facls and figures, concenlrating instead on the personalities that shaped the gallery's development. The. political infighting that has been a part of the gal- lery's struggle for existence is carefully chronicled, adding no small measure of interesl to Boggs' narrative. The color plates are enough in thomslevcs to make Ihe book n worthy addition lo any home's collection. Each is ac- companied by a brief analysis, along willi pertinent biographi- cal information on UK- artist M. the Ixxik is a pres- tigious addilion lo any dilet- tante's eeffee table. It would be a shame if it received no wider circulation. Kvery person should have I his book In his home or school so he can grow up wilh it, absorbing its riches during his formative years. IlliRH JOHNSON, "Mesagc from Malaga" by Ildt'ii Maclnnes (Harcourt IJrace Jovjmovicli, 3ii7 pagns, S7.SI5, dislribuled by Long- man Canada VOU never know what can happen lo you when you're on holiday in sunny Spain, particularly if you're an unaltac'hcd male with a friend in the spy game. If you are named Jim Ferrier, space agency employee, you head for Granada first, then drive your car to Malaga lo meet your friend whom you haven't seen for eight years. His name is Jim Reid. Driving along the road you find yourself bored, dissatisfied. "A glimpse of Graaiada is just too damned unsettling it was like being passionately kissed by a beau- tiful woman who slipped out of your arms and vanished." Well, by the time this lengthy role of intrigue is over, a lot of people including your friend, his friend, a beautiful flamenco dancer, an American girl, and assorted secret police of one nationality or another, disappear some of them temporarily, others blotted out forever. It's in the Maclnnes tradi- tion after all, and normally I'm a pushover for the Maclnnes Iradilion. But I got bogged down in this one, whether from personal ennui at Uie lime of reading, or inability to concen- trate sufficiently to sort out lire bewildering number of prol- agonists engaged in the net- work of adventure. Too bad too. There may be no more of this kind of spy thriller for a long lime to come, now that the CIA has become compu- terized. In any case, a lot of oUier readers have slayed up half the night with Mrs. Mac- lnnes' latest It's way up on the best seller list JANE HUCKVALE. Typical Prairie sod house The bachelor residence of Mr. J. Willis of Honeyville, Alberta. Photograph from the Glenbow-Alberta Institute, reproduced from An Illustrated History of Western Canada. A truly Canadian 'textbook' "An Illustrated History of Western Canada" hy Tony Cashman (M. G. Hilrtig Ltd., 272 pages, TTDMONTON publisher Mel Hurtig has latterly been complaining about American influence in the book publish- ing field. He contends that Ca- nadians are being deprived of learning their history because capable Canadian authors are not being given the opportun- ity lo write about it and Am- erican writers short-change it by concentrating on their own glorious past Wcll. young Canadians need no longer deprived of a knowledge of the history of Western Canada. Mr. Hurtig has seen to that by publishing this excellent book so interest- ingly and entertainingly ten by fellow Edmontonian Tony Cashman. The relatively high price not out of line for the qualily production that it is may prevent the book from being adopted as a text- book but, .should not deter it from a good sale as a gift. I expect the book will appeal to the young-adult reader for whom It was specifically writ- ten; I feel even more certain that older people will greatly enjoy and appreciate ing from my own reaction. An outstanding feature of the history is the generous selec- tion of illustrations included: paint ings, photographs, car- toons and drawings. They are full of interest in themselves. Some of the color reproduc- tions are treasures. Readers cannot fail to be struck by how close we stand today to the coming of the white men to the West. A strik- ing example is that of Camp- hell Young, still alive on his farm in northern Alberta, who as a baby was nearly lost as his mother fled from Lac La Biche to Fort Edmonton dur- ing the Riel uprising in 1885. Some significant people and events were unknown to me before reading this book. The importance of creating a mar- ket for the wood of the west- ern spruce had not occurcd to me, so nafurally the name of the man who did the selling job was not familiar. The au- thor says, "You'll never see a statue of Charlie Greenwood anywhere because no one ever puts up a monument to a sales- man." Besides digging out such im- portant facets of our history, Mr. Cashman continually adds dashes of humor to the stories he tells. If people who have been turned off from reading history by dull teachers could only be induced to sample this book it is likely they might come to like the subject. Feeling as positive about tills book as I do, I hesitate to offer any criticism yet there is at least one serious omission. The fur traders, explorers, police, settlers and railroaders are all given their proper innings in the opening of the West but the missionaries are ignored. Whether one thinks they made a good or bad contribution, they played a prominent role as (lie enduring names of Run- die, McDougall and Lacombe testify. They deserve some comment. Mr. Hurlig is lo he thanked for making this book possible. I hope be gets more than just, that kind of satisfaction out of it. DOUG WALKER. A bundle of real-life stones "Wanderings of an Kxport" by ,1. Krasrr Hodgson (South- ern Printing Company, Lclh- bridgr, 22fi pages, CEVEHA1. of tho 36 stories in this collection appear- ed previously in slimier form in The Herald. Having boon over them several limes in I ho process of shaping I hem for our pages, Margaret. l.uckhurM. and I lake a kind of proprie- tary interest in them and Ivyond them to the rest of Ihc reminiscences in the book. Margaret, had I he honor of writing the, foreword for I ho book and now it is my privi- lege to do the review. Eraser Hodgson's writing commands an audience ini- tially hecau.se of the admiration people for a person who lias triumphed over advcxMty. He pecked this hook out a let- ter at. a time with a gadget at- tached to liis chili, because his hands have been rendered use- less by multiple sclerosis. But' once into his writing, Uie charm pervading it. becomes captivating. There is nothing proMimp- tuous about, Fraser ('expert' in t.he title simply refers In his career as a farm machinery He does not tackle deep subjects or attempt displajs of literary proficiency. His topics are tho ordinary of life drawl from his memory, which are written down with honesty and humor. The stories deal with farm and town life and will create a mood of nostalgia for lhal large group of us share that background. Tlv.y will be a particular delight to those who find themselves named, or unnamed perhaps shared in the events, many of which happened at Coaklale or nearby. The soulh Alberta flavor of much of Ihc hook some stories come out of Krascr's early days at Swift Saskatcheuan is e.-irrieH through into t.he printing by a Lethhridgo firm and t.tie illiif-- t.raiing by T. H. wards of Raymond. Tho drawings are remarkably in lunn with the stories. I wish the book had a (able, of contents, but that prob- ably doesn't. Iwther Fraser who remarks in ono of bis yarns thai, it is hard to imagine a world in which everything is done ritihl. DOUG WALKER. Focus on the University By J. W. FISHBOURNE Tli- th- tli- all., folks SEVERAL times in the past two or three years, I have decided to get out of the column-writing business, but have never quite done it. This time1 I have really made up my mind, so cither this column or next week's will be Uie for me. I am not sure what will happen to this corner after that, and really, it is not my affair. As I imagine many of you could have told rr.e, had I felt a need to ask, column- writing has never been my racket. I have a genuine fondness for words, and derive some mild amusement from stringing them together in certain patterns and meanings, and have been aware since childhood of the existence of dictionaries, Roget's Thesaurus, Bartlett's Quotations and other paraphernalia of tire trade. But 1 do not regard myself as a writer, and even if I were such a creature I doubt very much that my creative muse would be stimulated by the prospect of turning out five or six hundred words each week on a topic so restrictive and usually dull as is implied by the title of this par- ticular column. If one were interested, then, one might ask why I have done it all this time, and it is a question I have asked myself from time to time. On one level it is simply a matter of having been asked to do it, and not having been told to stop. On a some- what different level, I suppose there must have been a time when I thought it was or could be sufficiently useful to jus- tify the sometimes quite considerable ef- fort involved. You see, when I first came to these strange parts, as an employee of the uni- versity, I was appalled to discover that it seemed to be regarded by general public as something very much like the local Exhibition and Stampede. Some peo- ple thought it was a useful and exciting thing, some thought it a bit of a nui- sance, but everybody recognized that it was a money spinner, and therefore good for the town. Consequently, the place was being explained to people and promoted in a manner appropriate for the Calgary Stampede, or a new shopping centre. It was being presented to the public as a great and brilliant institution, surpassing at birth the strictly run-of-the-mill universi- ties of Western Canada and destined probably in a semester or two to be- come the intellectual Mecca of the uni- verse. I happen to liave a somewhat different perspective. In my view, it lakes a decade or two to get a new university properly started, a few more years to reach the stage at which it can honestly feel that the name "university" is completely ap- propriate, and considerably more time than that to achieve anything approaching distinction. To pretend otherwise Is to ig- nore the history and experience of all ex- tant universities, to assume an exemption from the rules governing the development of such institutions, and to facility profesi a uniqueness so distinctive as to raise some doubts atoul belonging in the group at all. And my personal views of propriety are involved, too. Strutting and posturing tend to irritate me, and I have reached the advanced age at which concealing one'a irritation is more trouble than it's worth. Accordingly, when confronted with extra- vagant claims for very ordinary achieve- ments, my reaction is apt to be somewhat short of the enraptured hosannas this part of the world seems to regard as appro- priate for anything conceived or executed locally. This is not to say that I regard the first few year's achievement of this inslilution as unworthy or inappropriate. Having taken the trouble to enquire about the de- velopmental phases of other comparatively new universities, I find that what has hap- pened locally is not particularly startling, one way or the other. We have some ex- cellent people, and some very ordinary ones. We have done some good things, and some damned silly ones. In short, we are a pretty normal outfit that has made pro- gress wliich is roughly normal and only remarkable in that it has been achieved in spite of a marked degree of participa- tory democracy. It was and still is my view that this particular perspective was at least as entitled to public airing as the more popular notion that tills insti- tution is a modern miracle, governed by saints, administered by heroes and staffed by geniuses. When, having said that, perhaps I won't need to write a column next week, in which case this will be the last If that is so, it would be inappropriate for me not to record my apprecialion of the re- markable degree of freedom I have been allowed by the publisher of this paper and the editor of this particular page. (I am assuming as I must that occa- sionally one or the other of them read this column before it was published.) I should also express some appreciation to the surprizingly to me numerous peo- ple who took occasion to let me know that they read and occasionally appreciated what was said in Uiis column. And I would not be me if I did not wish to convey to a certain group of individuals, that labor on this side of the creek, who have ex- pressed their profound disapproval of this column and its writer to everyone in the institution except myself, a message that is sincere, succinct, and which even in this permissive age a family newspaper should not be asked to print The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY "The quest for justice" search for justice goes back to the very origins of the race and the foundation of civilization. The roots of Ca- nadian justice go back to Babylon and Is- rael, to the Code of Hammurabi, and the Mosaic Law, to the Greeks and Romans, as well as the Anglo-Saxons. It is fas- cinating that John Galsworthy and Thomas Hardy were obsessed with the problem of justice while Shakespeare was relatively untouched by Uie problem and makes clear in the Merchant of Venice that he is un- concerned whether Shylock gets justice or not. This is the more striking since Uie Schoolmen and the Puritans made so much of it, Richard Hooker writing "Of law there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is in the bosom of God." The trag'jdy of tbe reigns of Charles II and Janus II was their contempt for law. As the Mar- quis of Halifax in 1685 said, "Obedience was the prime requisite of a judge rather than skill or sincerity." The notorious Lord Chief Juslice Jeffreys not only enriched himself in the corruption of juslice but was brutal beyond description. In a few days, for example, in Somersetshire two hundred and thirty-three people were hanged, drawn and quartered. A historian records, "that every spot where two roads rr.ct, and every market place, on the green of every large village which had furnished Monmoulh with soldiers, ironed corpses clattering in the wind, or heads and quar- ters stuck on poles poisoned the air and made the traveller sick with horror.'1 The problems ol the judicial process to- day involve the appointment of judges aid their judicial capabilities, council for the poor and the role of the prosecutor, the jury system, delay in juslice, bail for tho accused, and redress lo an injured party. It is in I his la.M problem that conlem- poran' society has been particularly negli- gent This i.< more striking since in Africa the principle of ropaiMtion or compcnsa (ion is of paramount importance rather than motive. Whether you deliberately cut a man's throat or kill him by accident is not of groat consequence but repayment to the community or lo the injured party is the dominant fact Certainly also in achiev- ing justice the factors of heredity and en- vironment musl Iw considered. William Sheldon has demonstrated lhat individuals with a tendency to mesomorphy, a pre- dominance of muscle and bone, has great- er tendency to crime. Other psychologists found delinquent groups to be more hostile, anti-sccial, aggressive and suspicious. The breakdown in authority and the renuncia- tion of responsibility are undoubted factors in the prevalence of crime. Law is closely related to culture, to social patterns of behavior, and to the highest values in a community. In Russia, law is subservient to the State and it is a primary concept of Russian law that Uie welfare of the state must be of paramount importance. There is a great clanger of this happen- ing in any community. This is particularly true in the United States where the se- lection of judges is by popular election in most states. State prosecutors are usually elected also. Withoul any question the hesl Interests of society are served where tlie judicial process aims at reformation. The great Italian reformer in Uie field of criminology in 1873 contended that criminal law was a changing social institution and that crime was the product of individual disposition and environmental forces. On the one hand it is quite wrong and immoral to take the punitive elemcnl mil of the punishment for crime as some reformers wish to do. On the other hand it is an evil thing lo prac- tice such indignities upon a man that his personality is destroyed and reform jnarie impossible, while brutalizing treatment of prisoners degrades and brutalizes society itself. It is most important that the posi- tion cf the judge be held in the highest respect, and that the powers of the judge should not be handed over to the proba- tion officer. As Dean Pound said, "Law is experience developed by reason and rea- scu tested by cxiwrionco. Only Ihc jiidga experienced in the adminislriilion of jus- tice, possessed of a trained reason, and habituated lo employing it, can serve Ihc ends uf adequately. Iiftw is lha arch-enemy of autocracy, taws in abundance under absolute political re- gimes: but not. law. Lnw, us distinguislicd from laws, calls for judges." lint as the Ontario Chief Justice James Mcliucr com- mented, "Law and its administration must reflect, the cniipcirnoe of the society and ttavon hangs the fale of our representa- tive system of government'