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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 7, No. 5 June 21, 1944

Four Books—Our Opinions

Four Books—Our Opinions

The Seed Beneath The Snow

Ignazio Silone has now published five books in English. He is an Italian and writes of peasant Italy under fascism. His latest book is "The Seed Beneath the Snow," but unquestionably his best book was "Fontamara." In his new book he writes of the would be white collar Class and the petty bureaucrats, of the significance of the "party" in Italy. The petty party official or member is on the way to riches and success by bribery and corruption and any other way. A few liberal minded intellectuals still exist in this void, and a very few who are active and semi-active against the tyranny that dally grows more oppressive. The war with Abyssinia is on, but more dominating in the book is the soulless selfish grasping of the powerful and would be powerful. If you read Silone and like him, read this, his newest book. If you haven't read any of his yet, I advise you to go back and read Fontamara."

The Eve of St. Mark

So many books have been written about the glory of this war; the courage of the men, and the patience of their women, that it needs a stern eye to decipher any original spark of appeal that might have inspired the writing.

Perhaps you know Maxwell Anderson by his two plays "Winterset" and "The Masque of Kings." If you enjoyed them then you will sympathise with the characters he creates in his latest play, "The Eve of St. Mark."

It is the same old story of love and war; of tea set in the kitchen at home, and malaria and mud in the trenches "out there." Perhaps the nightly visitations the fond mother and flance endure at home are over-done a little and come near to severing the thread of the story each time; and though the at, [unclear: rnating] "home" and "war" scenes destroy the expectancy, the thought is transferred very glibly from one, [unclear: et] to another.

The play has little value beyond a couple of hours' light reading entertainment; or some difficult producing for an American drama club to grapple with—it is too ordinary. If you must read plays, toy with Galsworthy or Oscar Wilde; If you must see them there is always Shakespeare.

Science and Industry

Initially he makes a plea for more scientific method in all things—including politics, and then proceeds to tell you nothing about everything in a most unscientific way.

The author has attempted to cover far too much with the result that the whole work is superficial.

For the science student it offers a large number of familiar terms [unclear: t] teaches, him nothing, while to the layman even the terms are unfamiliar. Generally, I should say, the matter of the book consists of scientific and technical terms thrown a into a matrix of general knowledge; the whole being garnished with a few interesting sidelights on the relations between industry, the pro letariat, science and politics. In fact we might call it a meal of "Dry Hash."


Class Struggle

Have you any knowledge of scientific socialism or even of its fundamentals? If not, you may find much about it in a small booklet by Gilbert Cope called "Christians in the Class Struggle."

In this booklet Mr. Cope presents a brief analysis of the present class struggle and points out that few Christians are aware of the extent to which class barriers sever relationships between higher and lower paid sections of society. Unless this barrier is broken down peace and prosperity for all is a myth. This direct negation of the teachings of Christ must be rectified and the onus falls on us as Christians.

Although this aim is altruistic it is often thwarted by our fellow-Christians, who are apt to side with the counter revolutionary forces because they feel that their own interests are being threatened. This no doubt is the chief cause of our inability to form a united body with which to strike the blow. Even the reactionary parties are inclined to be a little indifferent to their own policy, as may be seen in the numerous party splits in England.

If the Christians and politicians are divided amongst themselves, where then are we to obtain our Socialism from?

Mr. Cole suggests that we as Christian Socialists should watch for and support issues of immediate importance and ally ourselves with any political grouping which advocates them. Thus we need not be tied down to any particular party and yet we may further the interests of those for whom we fight.