19 OCTOBER 1929, Page 20

Amid the welter of books on China Mr. L. H.

Dudley Buxton's China : the Land and the People (Clarendon Press, 15s.) is refreshingly novel because it avoids recent history and politics and deals solely with " human geography." " Although China is essentially an agricultural country, somewhat para- doxically it cannot feed itself." " Gobi is slowly being moved into Chins by mechanical action, the wind." These two sentences illustrate the fundamental problems which Mr. Buxton discusses. We hear much of the Chinese advance into Mongolia, conquering the desert ; but the desert further

south is advancing into the tilled country and making even .Buxton notes the smallness of the average peasant holding- the dry farming of North China impossible. Civil war and corrupt administration intensify the physical evil. Mr. -an acre or an acre and a, half—and points out that it is .constantly shrinking bectiuse the fainily graves must be respected. The book will repay careful "study. Mr. Buxton might, perhaps, have emphasized the relative scarcity of iron ore in China.