Fort Charles - New lands

Author : Fort Charles Hoy
Title : New lands
Year : 1925

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Introduction by Booth Tarkington. "Personally" (as we are more wont to say in our youth than in any other ages) I find that a book with an Introduction always worries me a little. I want to read the book itself, not the Introduction, but for some reason I have a feeling that it is my unpleasant duty to read the Introduction. Usually I decide to read the book first and the Introduction afterward; but then my reading is tainted throughout by my sense of guilt; for I have learned by experience that I never do read the Introduction afterward. So, in time, I have reached the conclusion that an Introduction ought to inform the reader's mere first glance that he needn't feel guilty if he doesn't read it afterward. Adopting this view, the author of the present Introduction finds himself perfectly equipped for his task. Readers might be made much more uncomfortable if the Introduction of "New Lands" were what such a book might conventionally expect: a professionally scientific writer — preferably an outraged practising astronomer. A few years ago I had one of those pleasant illnesses that permit the patient to read in bed for several days without self-reproach; and I sent down to a bookstore for whatever might be available upon criminals, crimes and criminology. Among the books brought me in response to this morbid yearning was one with the title, "The Book of the Damned." I opened it, not at the first page, looking for Cartouche Jonathan Wild, Pranzini, Lacenaire, and read the following passage: "The fittest survive. What is meant by the fittest ? Not the strongest; not the cleverest - Weakness and stupidity everywhere survive. There is no way of determining fitness except in that a thing does survive. `Fitness' then, is only another name for `survival.'" ...

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Review of books rare and missing

Balder Ex-Libris