ASSIGNMENT: by Bolden Menefee
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Absorbing documentary study of the country today, liberal in viewpoint, fair in evidence. Princeton's Office of Public Opinion Research commissioned Menefee to make a 15,000 mile trip for the purpose of sounding out public opinion in America today; -- what it is thinking of the Administration, about the war and its conduct, about the peace, about labor and Negroes and Jews. In some ways it is reassuring, for in spite of the confusion in the Capital, the country as a whole is behind the war; in other ways it is frightening, -- the increase in racial prejudices, the indifference to social issues, the menace of inflation. He shows the South, where discrimination against the Negro is intensified; he shows the ""all out West"" and its problems of food, labor and housing shortages; he shows the complacent midwest, the eastern capitals, anti-semitic Boston, New York's hostile Harlem, Washington's chaos. He investigates industrial unrest, the absenteeism in shipyards; skyrocket prices on the Coast precipitating demand for higher wages; the miners with just causes for strikes; the manpower shortage and the wasted woman power; the farm bloc, which is actually a scant 30% of the farming class and which has done more to impede the war and advance inflation than any other group; the sore point of inflation, price control; the Administration, with Roosevelt's weakness as an administrator responsible for the vacillation of the agencies, for the endless creation of super-agencies planned to co-ordinate and failing to do so; Congressional behaviour, hamstringing Roosevelt's attempts to control inflation and labor. He prophesies that if the war is still on, Roosevelt will find the country in general behind him in '44. The sort of book that people who should read it won't read it. See what you can do!

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1943
Publisher: Reynal & Hitchcock