AMERICA SPEAKS by Philip Gibbs


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I don't understand the magic of his name -- with American audiences -- for a backward look at the record made by his books (non-fiction) certainly does not make one feel much confidence in this his latest. European Journey ('34) was all sweetness and light, even to accepting Hitler as a symptom; Across Frontiers ('38) still urged friendship with Germany, but we reported the book as ""news when Sir Philip reflects any pessimism"". England Speaks was a rosy view somewhat pegged down in '37 by Ordeal in England -- but neither, in retrospect, seems realistic. Now comes America Speaks which says the things people like to hear about themselves and their country, but -- critically viewed, it seems too optimistic, reflecting the ease and comfortable remoteness of America and failing to see (in 1941) the undercurrents of isolationism in any direction. And after Pearl Harbor he is convinced all is hunky dory, accepting as gospel truth every statement made on the air, in the press. His record of his speaking tour is a paean of praise for his hosts (and hostesses) -- a far cry from the bite (and humor) of John Mason Brown and E. M. Delafield. Prophecy -- the public will love it, and it will sell.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1942
Publisher: Doubleday, Doran