13 MAY 1943, Page 20

Ben. Lucien Burman. (Macmillan. 8s. 6d.)

THIS is a pioneer book that is well worth reading. For Mr. Burman had the idea of going, in the winter of 194o-41, to see what was afoot in those parts of the French Empire that had rallied to General de Gaulle. He saw the Syrian campaign, about which he has a good deal that is interesting to say ; but his main theme, rightly, is the creation in the Congo and on the edge of the Sahara of a belligerent French Empire. He makes the extraordinary difficulties clear with- out making them depressing. Climate, poverty, inadequate resources, isolation were all met and conquered. Even as a pure travel book, this is admirably done. As a report of a heart-stirring achievement it is even better done.