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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 6 (September 2, 1935)

Reviews. “Without Reserve.”

Reviews. “Without Reserve.”

This notable book by Mr. F. A. Hornibrook, who spent some years in New Zealand prior to the War, gives the outspoken opinions of a clear-thinking Londoner upon all the principal subjects of public interest. The title “Without Reserve” is well chosen. There is no hesitation in expressing an opinion and there are no half measures either in praising or codemning men or conditions. Compromise does not enter into Mr. Horni-brook's philosophy of life and he is, to use words chosen from his book, “the enemy of all cant and hypocrisy.”

It is seldom that a book so boldly written or so clearly expressed comes into circulation. Coloured with the liveliness of personal experiences and punctuated with good stories appropriate to the subject under discussion, whether it be malnutrition, education, government, physical training, or war, and exhibiting first-hand knowledge of leading men and national movements, “Without Reserve” will furnish material for endless discussion and is not likely to be relegated to the dust and silence of the upper shelves, that fate which awaits so many books of a non-controversial nature.

Particularly interesting are the chapters on Government and Courage. In the first the author unhesitatingly announces the conclusion of various experiments in Government in the countries of the world. His chapter on Courage is broadly based on a fine appreciation of what constitutes this greatest of all human attributes and is wide enough to include “the railway porters who handle the heavy loads of luggage we take on our holidays, handle them so ably and so cheerfully.”

Unless we are greatly mistaken, “Without Reserve” will be one of the most “Wanted” books of the year. The book is published by Heinemann and is priced at 7/6.

A publishing venture of Hutchinson's, London, that has met with remarkable success has been the Century Omnibus series. I understand that the total sales to date are near the half million mark. This is not to be marvelled at when we dip into one of these volumes—each over a thousand pages. In recent issues I have reviewed the Century Love Stories, Strange Stories, Sea Stories and Humorous Stories. Now comes possibly the most interesting volume of them all, “A Century of Detective Stories” with an introduction by G. K. Chesterton. Referring to the forty-six leading writers who contribute to this volume G.K.C. aptly remarks: “It is their pride as artists to deal in daggers and startle the unfortunate reader with the stab of a short story.” However, the reader is not unfortunate, for there is a great thrill in being stabbed with a short story. I have gladly suffered the stabs of this outstanding collection of detective thrillers particularly when the dagger is in the hands of such rare writers as Edgar Allan Poe, Gilbert Frankau, Eden Phillpotts, Edgar Wallace and the great G.K.C. himself. As with the other Omnibus series, my copy comes from Whitcombe and Tombs.

“Herd of the Hills,” by Allan Fraser (W. and R. Chambers, London) is a first novel. I cannot help thinking that publishers are unwise in emphasising the fact that such and such a book is a first novel. The author is immediately at a disadvantage, for the reader, in his supreme conceit, is on the search in the first page for actual or imagined deficiencies. However, this new author need not worry. His inherent art grips one after the reading of the first few dozen lines. Mr. Fraser is a writer of promise. His first novel, a romance of the Highlands, provides excellent reading. Even while the reader is buoyed up with the interest of the yarn, at the back of his mind is the thought—this book is worth while—it is well written. We will wait for Mr. Fraser's next—we have him on our list as one worth watching.

“Touring in New Zealand,” by Dr. A. J. Harrop (Allen and Unwin) has been compiled following on the author's visit to the Dominion last year. It is an intensely practical book and for this reason should have a strong, sustained sale among prospective visitors to New Zealand, also among our own people who wish to have on their literary shelves an attractive guide book concerning the Dominion. The book contains a comprehensive coverage of the tourist attractions of New Zealand with much valuable advice to assist the visitor. The illustrations are excellent.