18 OCTOBER 1940, Page 26

The Storm Breaks. By Frederick T. Birchall. (Hale. 12s. 6d.)

" FOR the last eight years," Mr. Birchall writes, " I have had a front seat at the greatest show in history." Those front seats must have been uncomfortably packed. We have had Mr. Duranty, Mr. Sheean, Mr. Gunther, Mr. Farson, Mr. Reed and Mr. Reynolds, to name only a few of the journalists who have written books about Europe. Today they have been elbowed out by their readers : in the streets of London the common man is present at a greater show. Mr. Birchall's record of all the usual things—Reichstag fire, Austrian invasion, Sudetenland— seems an old tale which hardly deserves retelling : new facts seldom come to light at Press conferences and reporters' tables, and Mr. Birchall's style suggests that American journalism (he was chief correspondent of the New York Times and a Pulitzer prizewinner) is not so snappy as we believed. Revelations come like thunderbolts and countries fall like ripe plums.