War Over Ethiopia. By W. J. Makin. (Jarrolds. 185.) Eight Years in Abyssinia. By Fan. C. Dunekley. (Hutchinson. 7s. 6d.)
Reviewed by JAMES BRAMWELL
At this stage in the Italo-Abyssinian dispute there are only two justifications for further books upon the subject. One 15 that something new should be said, and, secondly, that it should be said well. Both these books are padded with stale information that could profitably have been omitted, and both appear to have been written hurriedly, no doubt to satisfy the hypothetical demand of the reading public. Mr. Makin brings the situation up to date. In a long and inordinately expensive book he gathers together all the information that has been filling the newspapers for the last eight months, supplementing it with his own experience of the country. The result is curiously unequal. On the military situation and the personalities of both sides in the dispute he writes well; but when he seems to be writing from personal experience he tends to dramatise his material at the expense of verisimilitude. ,The emperor becomes the " Brown Napoleon " and the well-meaning League delegates at Geneva " sallow and preoccupied diplomats." Tales of lycanthropy and the legendary mines of the Queen of Sheba cast an imaginative glow over established truths, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the transitions from fact to hearsay. Mrs. Dunckley is less informative, but in some respects her book is better value. It is an unpretentious account of domestic and social life in Addis Ababa by the wife of Reuter's correspondent, who is irreverently described throughout the book as " my good man." For this reason, among others, Eight Years in Abyssinia will appeal more to women than to men.