We Get Wales
The Land of Wales, by Eiluned and Peter Lewis (Batsford, 7s. 6d.)
Reviewed by J. ALBAN EVANS The luggage-label is the most useful of devices, but it can be very deceptive. Routes and destinations change, but the label remains-a gratifying evidence of past journeys, but a dangerous guide to the porter.
And " Gallant Little Wales," firmly attached to an inconspicuous piece of English hand-luggage, is in some need of revision. Wales is " quaint," the ladies wear what appear to be inverted flower-pots in lieu o•f hats, and elderly gentlemen perform druidical rites at the crack of dawn every
August. Latterly, Wales has become a " special area as well. But the A.A. will see that you by-pass anything depressing.
The Lewises have altered all that. Their book is a brilliant account of the whole of Wales -folklore and rugby football, religious revivals and tin-plate. The paradox that emerges is the paradox of Wales itself, for the Gehenna of Landore is as Welsh as the Swallow Falls and very much more Welsh than the promenade at Rhyl.
The authors modestly say that they deal only "with those features of Welsh life that may interest the general reader." So there are chapters on Life on the Land, The Fortress Town, Sport, Religion in Wales, and an intelligent review of recent developments which combines sympathy with freedom from condescension-and that is a rare enough achievement in a book on Wales. There is, too, an admirably wellinformed chapter on Welsh industry.
We are spared the usual ecstatic catalogue of Poet's Walks and Lover's Leaps. We get Wales instead.
The book is illustrated with nearly 130 photographs. The imprint of Messrs. Batsford is a sufficient recommendation for their superb reproduction and variety.
There are one or two misprints. Llanuwchlyn is wrongly spelt on page 24; Llanddowror on page 90. It is hard to believe that the hundreds of Llanfairs are necessarily Norman foundations (page 84). Finally, has Mr. Lewis (for it is his hand we see in the chapter on sport) really heard "God Bless the Prince of Wales " sung at a football match? The words are foolish and the tune is bad. Surely the Welsh have better taste than that?
Escak En U.R.S.S., by Jean Raynaud (Imprimerie de L'Ouest Eclair, Rennes, 1936).
Jean Raynaud, the energetic co-founder of the Jeunesse Maritime Chretienne, has done well to reprint in pamphlet form those vivid impressions of modern life in Russia which appeared last year in that lively little magazine La Jeunesse Maritime. They may be superficial, for Jean Raynaud was merely one of a party of naval officers and bluejackets who were entertained by the Intourist during a. brief visit of a French cruiser to Cronstadt. But my friend Jean seems to have kept his eyes open and noticed a good many things which his guides and hosts would have rather he had not seen.
The gloomy and depressing picture he gives us can only be described as a nightmare. This little pamphlet merely endorses the views of another Frenchman-Andr6 Gide-whose recent book on Russia has caused such a sensation in France. Both Gide and Raynaud make one realise that pure Communism has failed. Today it is merely a very ugly form of Capitalism. P. F. A.
Squalor In Kenya
The Land that Never Was, by Alyse Simpson (Selwyn and 1;ilount, Ss. 6d.)
Reviewed by GERALD WYNNE R USHTON.
This book ought to be broadcast word by word-paragraph by paragraph-chapter by chapter! At long last someone has had the guts to tell the truth about the jingoistic squalor that is Kenya. It is not Hell-it is Kenya that is paved with good intentions and pathetic hopes, and dreams brought to nought by horrible facts of existence that are only gainsaid by drink.
I had rattier gathered this from various "failures" home from Kenya. Now I know why they were "failures," and why one could never get them to talk.
In this vivid, baldly honest story, which is greatly enhanced by the author's easy limpid style, the high falutin nonsense about Kenya, with which we have been stuffed for years, is exposed And about time too.
To every youngster racked with "divine discontent," who thinks of risking his all in Kenya, I strongly suggest that he first get this book from the lending library and ponder on it. But above all, I repeat, it ought to be broadcast
Lodgers in Sweden. by Romilly and Katherine John (Faber and Faber, 12s. 6d.)
Reviewed by IRIS CONLAY Like all lodgers, the Johns do nothing but complain of their landlady-the difference is that the Johns are amusing about their discomforts. According to them, Mistress Sweden emerges an aggravating dame with parsimonious habits which have not even the interest of positive vice.
In the course of their stay, the Johns tried Stockholm and were little impressed by what they saw; they moved into the lakeland country and seemed happier but still dissatisfied. Gothenburg they simply despised. and the west coast never came up to expectations. When at last they do return to England, the reader feels inclined to ask why they ever left.
Apparently Helen did ask this blunt question-Lodgers in Sweden is dedicated to Helen, " who cannot see that Sweden is necessary "-and the book seems an Madequate answer.