15 JUNE 1929, Page 22

The country and life of a distinctive Highland people are

described in Miss Ruth Alexander's Stones, Hilltops and The Sea (Alston Rivers, 12s. 6d.), which treats of Yugoslavia, the country of the Southern Slays (for Yugo means south). Partly Highland only however, since the Croatian element in the triune kingdom of the Serbs-Croats-Slovenes is low- land, and between the Croats and the highland Serbs there exists hereditary enmity, as last summer's murder of Raditch only too tragically showed. Apart from the author's portrayal of national manners and scenery (which is uniformly striking and rightly selective), we particularly commend to the notice of our readers her notes on the political passions which continue to seethe in this much-harassed country. The Serb and the Croat are at daggers drawn ; there is the religious difference between the Roman Catholics of the West and the Orthodox Serbs in the East, complicated by Mohammedanism in Bosnia ; while above all them looms the ineradicable hostility between the Slav and the Latin—the menace of Italianity. But, as the author remarks, " great figures have always appeared in times of Balkan necessity," and the dangerous elements may yet be composed to harmony and peace. Miss Alexander can be congratulated on having produced a book not only of remarkable distinction of style shot with a pleasant humour, but of very special interest, on a country which is not yet very well known and where political problems afford food for anxious thought.