7 DECEMBER 1901, Page 56


The War of the Civilisations: being the Record of a "Foreign Devil's" Experiences with the Allies in China. By George Lynch. With Illustrations. (Longmans and Co. 6s. net.)—This is a narrative of the relief of the Legations in Pekin by a war corre- spondent who had previously served in Cuba and South Africa, and who accompanied the relieving expedition. It appears to have been the author's first visit to China, but he is evidently an acute observer and clear thinker, and has made the most of his opportunities ; and while neither palliating nor excusing the mistakes and atrocities of the "Boxers," his book is a scathing indictment of all the dealings of Europe with China. All Englishmen, with a few insignificant exceptions, are convinced that the war in South Africa was just and necessary, though they may differ about its causes and its details; but the case of China is very different, and though the past cannot be altered, Mr. Lynch has done good service by calling public attention more prominently to the high-handed and unscrupulous diplomacy which has been the cause of all the wars and troubles between China and the Powers. Mr. Lynch's book, though not without an occasional touch of humour, is most painful reading; and the only ground for satisfaction is that the English, Americans, and Japanese are not accused of the atrocities perpetrated without restraint by the other Allies. Those the author alludes to were not surpassed by the Bulgarian or Armenian atrocities; and he frequently refers us for further particulars to Appendix 5, where it is clearly intimated that further details are unfit for publication. It is needless to add that the evidence for the truth of these atrocities does not rest on the unsupported testimony of Mr. Lynch alone. He also gives a short but interesting sketch of the Empress Dowager, for whose personality and abilities he ex- presses high admiration ; and he dees not conceal his belief that she and China are merely biding their time, and will ultimately expel all foreigners as soon as they have sufficiently reorganised their resources to attempt the task with a reasonable prospect of success.