19 MAY 1917, Page 16

The Street of lnk. By H. Simonis. (Cassell and Co.

7s. 6d. net.)— If any layman turns the pages of this gossipy book about Fleet Street and " the provinces," he will suggest as a motto for it the old music-hall refrain, " Everything in the garden's lovely." Those who work for the Press, on its literary or commercial side, know that the occupation is not so much of a mutual admiration society as Mr. Simonis would have us believe, but they will read with amused interest his eulogistic notes on the various daily and weekly publications. He knows much more about the halfpenny papers and about their publishing and advertising staffs than about the weightier papers and the literary aspects of journalism as a whole; but Mr. Simonis is a director of the Daily News, and to him the production of newspapers, one would gather from his book, is somewhat of a commercial industry, like the making of cocoa or soft soap. From the public standpoint, the identity of tho persons controlling the Press, with its great but irresponsible powers, ought to be known, and it is disappointing to find that Mr. Simonis deals rather vaguely with this question. He does not even tell us directly about the ownership of the Star, though, as he describes himself as a director of the Dairy News and the Star, we must infer that the organ of the Nonconformist conscience and the organ of " Captain Coe " are really guided by one man or one set of men. The ownership of the Nation, again, is not stated, though it obviously has an important bearing on a recent controversy. However, we must not blame Mr. Simonis for not doing what he never intended to do. The numerous portraits

the book are, for the most part, not nearly so flattering as the letterpress. Indeed, if the portraits had been published alone, the present writer would have been inclined to suggest as an improved title " Our Ignoble Selves."