22 FEBRUARY 1930, Page 22

The king as life-giver and creator, warden of a people's

health and prosperity, is characteristic of many early civiliza- tions. Professor Elliot Smith-has already shown hoW gold has also a supernatural glamour for early man, and in his latest book, Human History (Jonathan Cape, 21s.), weaves the various strands of adolescent culture into a homogeneous whole. The golden age of savagery was more than a charming fiction. Man really was free in those far-off days, till he surrendered his soul to a superstitious bondage which held him in thrall to a divine autocracy and despotic priest-kings. It required the base copper of Greece to destroy the supremacy of Egypt's gold standard, and since then religion, superstition and ration- alism have warred for the mastery in civilization. A provocative and thought-compelling book, in which history is interpreted through science and man is restored- to • his biological