Kirkus Star


Email this review


On consecutive publication dates come two books that are singularly parallel in scope and evaluation, -- this volume and Wendell Willkie's One World (reviewed above). Where Mr. Willkie does not attempt to cut very much below the surface or to present a scholarly judgment, Eve Curie seeks to weigh factors, one against the other, and to show a ""war of blood, destruction, heroism, passion, hatred and death, a war where gigantic armies are clashing, where millions are suffering.....not a war of abstract ideas"". She finds her answer in the selfless passion of the Free French forces, fighting against incredible odds, achieving miracles in Africa, in the Near East, inspired by the spirit of France and by their leader, De Gaulle, soldier and administrator, who has staunchly rejected ""compromises and transactions"". She finds her answer in Russia, where the impossible has been done through the strength of intimate linking of vital interests of the homeland with the triumph of doctrine. In pleading for a betbet understanding with Russia she quotes their statement that ""trust is a two-way proposition"". She had a rare opportunity to see the front line, in a visit to Moshaisk, immediately after it was retaken, and talked with returning refugees, with inhabitants who had lived through the terror of Nazi occupation, with soldiers and prisoners. Certain light is thrown on Russia which I'd not sensed elsewhere, -- for instance, the relations of Poles and Russians, and the burying of old enmities in the forming of Polish companies. Miss Curie did not visit Turkey -- that section of Wendell Willkie's book is of definite news value. But she did visit Burma, Rangoon in the flood of retreat, Mandalay and India -- and presents her impressions as those of a thoughtful, perceptive, fair-minded observer who can see all sides of the problem and offer them for consideration without attempting any snap judgments. Her visit to China followed, perhaps, more routine lines than Wendell Willkie's, who came in ""by the back door""; but one gets a more intimate close-up picture of life there under war conditions as she visits various households, and senses a determination to see things through with ""sweat and blood but no tears"". As in the Willkie book, so in this -- there is a plea for more help for China, more recognition that China has been warring for five years with virtually no assistance, and that China has retreated but never surrendered. This is a long book, but a rewarding one. The survey has some purely feminine elements which will give women readers generally a feeling that --perhaps -- a woman journalist sees certain things that their gifted fellow correspondents may miss. Eve Curie has lost nothing of her gift for seeing and recording, her genius for words.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1943
Publisher: Doubleday, Doran