Vidocq: The Personal Memoirs of the First Great Detective, edited and translated by Edwin Gile Rich. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 445 pages. $3. This condensed version of the famous detective’s memoirs starts off very well as an amusing picaresque story. Soon, however, it becomes the somber and rather dreary tale of Vidocq’s escapes while he was one of the hunted, and of his captures when he turned hunter himself. Apparently Vidocq cared more for the truthfulness of his story than for any possible adornments.
There Is No Truce: A Life of Thomas Mott Osborne, by Rudolph W. Chamberlain. New York: The Macmillan Company. 420 pages. $3.50. Osborne seemed to have been born under fortunate stars. To the inheritance of family, culture and wealth he added personal attractions and accomplishments and power over men. And yet the stars turned malign. “Few men,” says his biographer, “have ever been so unerring in their choice of the losing side.” Mr. Chamberlain brings out the secret of his constant defeat. He was Don Quixote with a streak of the playboy.
Tortilla Flat, by John Steinbeck. New York: Covici, Friede. $2.50. Not since the days of W. W. Jacobs, making his disarming characters out of scoundrels, has there been a book quite like this one. Both Jacobs and Steinbeck must have worked on the assumption that most of us, having a slice or two of Caspar Milquetoast in our systems or a streak that calls for out and out anarchy, are likely to revel in the antics of anyone getting away with what he shouldn’t. The Paisanos of Tortilla Flat get away with agreat deal in their tireless efforts to supply their gullets with red wine.
Europe: War or Peace? by Walter Duranty. Boston: World Peace Foundation. 47 pages. 50 cents. The Pipe Dream of Peace, by John W. Wheeler-Bennett. New York: William Morrow and Company. 318 pages. $3. Peace and the Plain Man, by Norman Angell. New York: Harper and Brothers. 344 pages. $2.50 The Price of Peace, by Frank H. Simonds. New York: Harper and Brothers. 380 pages. $3. The title of Mr. Duranty’s booklet, “Europe: War or Peace?” is a question that is asked today more anxiously than it was in 1914.
Out of the recent planetary turmoil of the Supreme Court, those down below who have been counting on the liberal Justices have been denied even a handful of stardust. Mr. Justice Roberts cut short in the railroad pension case what had been all along a rather indecent one-sided flirtation. Justices Hughes and Stone have been giving the liberals a passing solace, but theirs was never a deeply rooted point of view, and their liberalism has waned with the decline of the prestige of the New Deal. As for Mr.