14 FEBRUARY 1941, Page 22

America for 2s. 6d

U.S.A. By D. W. Brogan. (Oxford University Press. 25. 6d.)

THE highest praise that could be given to this little book—and no praise could be too high for it—is to say that it is as good as any book on this subject by Professor Brogan was certain to be. It is a marvel of compression without betraying the least sign of compression, and it reveals its author as a marvel of omniscience. Professor Brogan appears as completely at home in the boxing world as the religious, at Hollywood as at Boston. He writes with the same serene mastery of his subject, whether that subject be the boll-weevil or the Elks and Mooses or the Emporia Gazette or the La Follette dynasty. He has set out to show the average British reader in less than 120 small pages what the America of today is like—its government, its religion, its labour world, its Press, its social life, its literature, its amusements. I have done my utmost to detect some huh of omission or commission, but failed practically everywhere. I thought at first that Professor Brogan had done too little justice to Christian Science, which Mark Twain said was destined to divide the United States with the Roman Catholic Church, but on going to the statistics I find that Christian Science members are given as little more than zoo,000. One trifling lapse only rewarded my endeavours; Professor Brogan has, so to speak, knocked L out of Mr. Wendell Willkie, who has two of this rectangular letter in his surname as well as in what Americans