19 MAY 1923, Page 22

It had been better for Mr. Meneken's rather insecure reputa-

tion in this country if he had not seen fit to publish this trivial

opus, as he might call it, in England. It is only slightly more valuable than his literary criticism, and rather more super- ficial than the usual run of his sociological treatises. Apart from his occasional humour—for in spite of his strainedly cheap and monotonously repetitive smartness Mr. Mencken manages often to be definitely funny—it is a dull and empty book. He admits the platitudinousness of the few scattered and inconclusive truths it contains, but he does not confess to the contradictions in his arguments which cancel out what truths there are, nor does he warn the reader against the haste and fallacy of his own observations. These generalizations, composed during the irrational fervour of wartime, may have served to amuse their author, but they scarcely help towards the solution of a romantic problem which the present genera- tion feels has, anyhow, no reality.