29 MAY 1936, Page 32


Current Literature

By Cicely Hamilton , The sixth volume in Miss Hamilton's seriek-Of:sarveys, of modern 'state-S-- was probably the most difficult' of them all

to writ-there is contradictory evidence,. ahnost. every topic Whieli demands consideration. tif -slieha.4 nevertheless succeidell in making Modern Ireland (Dent, 7S: (Id.) 'a lucid, fair, dispass- tonate, accurate (errors are too few and too slight even to need 'mentioning) and altogether thoroughly rr:.iiee- able guide.: Her book is relatively short and therefore neces- sarily. far from comPrehensisie, but she has a very valuable faculty for throwing light on one question in a digressive aside in the course of systematically discussing another. She opens her book, rather oddly it seems at first glance. with a chapter on the flourishing smuggling industry which is conducted on the frontier between the Six Counties and the Free State, passes on to consider the economic war and the annuities dispute (this chapter contains an admirable descrip- tion of a sale of seized cattle), and contiaUes with discussions of, among lother topics, the sweepstake industry, the anti- English hate-cult, the compulsory Irish movement, general industrial and agricultural policy, the Communist element. the censorship and the position of the Churches. Miss Hamilton's discussion of these topics in enviably fair and pre- sents both sides of every debatable question (which An-Ireland means every question), to the point of quoting systematically from newspapers of opposing views and from the works of rival historians-. If her book has a Tann it is that it is lacking in imagination-she sticks purely to external f-aets: . But in books about Ireland a tendency in the other direction is so much the rule ,that the .exception which is entirely free from emotional reactions is all the more valuable. •