31 JULY 1941, Page 4

The importance of such text-books in the hands of school-

boys (and equally of their sisters) is considerable, and it is as necessary to get the right books included in school curricula as the wrong ones excluded. It is very satisfactory, therefore, that the Board of Education should have circularised some 30,000 schools in England and Wales emphasising the importance of familiarising British youth with the main out- lines of the history of the United States. This is, in fact, not merely important but supremely important, for what exists at present in the minds of the average schoolboy and school- girl is not simply a vast negative ignorance, but a fatal mis- understanding, about America, which comes into school routine merely as an episode in the history of England in George III's reign. How many public schoolboys, I wonder, have ever heard of Thomas Jefferson, or Patrick Henry, or Andrew Jackson, or Jefferson Davis? Few, if any, suitable textbooks on American history are at present available, and for an elementary beginning a few lessons built about three or four outstanding personalities of different periods—say, Washington, Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson,—might be most effective. And it would be worth while making it clear that, the War of Independence was not fought in the first instanco for independence, or the Civil War for the abolition of slavery It ought, on such a theme, to be easy to achieve the best all results—to stimulate a demand for more.