THE SOCIAL DIRECTION OF HUMAN EVOLUTION. By W . E. K ellicott. N ew York: D. A ppleto n&C o., 1911. 2 49 p p. Price, $1.50. In ministering to the welfare of the community, the philanthropist and social reformer, like the physician attending the individual, faces a double problem. First he must correctly diagnose the evil which he seeks to remedy. Once the trouble is recognized, and its nature properly understood, there remaills the task of discovering or devising a suitable treatment. There have never been wanting those who have labored with self-sacrifice and in truly altruistic spirit for the good of the less favored strata of human society, and especiaIIy within the last century or so the systematic care for the sick and defective has developed to a stage of excellence which we may weII witness with gratification. But while there can thus be no doubt as to the good motives which have been at work, the question has been raised, particularly by the advocates of “eugenics,” whether some of the steps taken have not been based on a false or at least incomplete diagnosis of the trouble. It is pointed out that our asylums and hospitals and other philanthropic institutions, indeed, do a noble work for the individual, but that the benefit thus conferred is evanescent, lastIng at best for a lifetime, and requiring ever-renewed etorts in each generation. We are combating the symptoms, instead of seeking to eradicate the disease. Says the author : "If we could by education, by legislation, or by social etort, change the environmental conditions, would the race at once rise to a markedly higher standard of physique and mentality? Much, if not the whole battle for social reform, has been based on the assumption that this question was to be answered in the affirmative. No direct investigation has reaIIy ever been made of the intensity of tie influence of environment on man. To modify the obviously repeIIent was the immediate instinct of the more gently nurtured and controlling social class. Was this direction of sO(ial reform really capable of etecting any substantial change? Nay, by lessening the selective death rate, may it not have contributed to emphasizing the very evils it was intended to lessen?" To show how intricate some of the questions involved are, new measures taken with the very best intentions may lead to whoIIy unlooked-for results. “We might point out that several movements' apparently of high social value have been attended by a curious and largely unforeseen back action. Thus the enforcement of certain forms of employers' Iiability laws has led to discrimination against married persons by large employers of labor, and a premium thus put upon non-marriage. The result of child labor legislation has been in some cases an enprmous rise in the death rate of young children among the classes concerned, indicating that the children receive less care, now that they have ceased to be a prospective family asset, and have become chiefly a burden for many years. In other cases the result has been so serious a limitation in the birth rate that communities are dyiIg out and factories are closing for want of sufficient help.” There can be little doubt that the right standpoint from which to attack the problems involved is that of eugenics. In the volume under review the author brings before the reader in logical sequence the aims, the scientific (biological) basis, and the “programme” of eugenics. Naturally much attention is paid to a discussion of the phenomenon of heredity, and Mendel's law of ancestral inheritance. How terrible is the inherited bias for crime and ineptitude is shown by the records of the Jukes family of New York State. This family is traced back to 1720. Of 1,200 members whose history is known, 300 died in iIfancy. Of the remaining 900, 310 were professional paupers; 440 were wrecked by their own diseased wickedness; more than half of the women were prostitutetl; 130 were convicted criminals, 60 habitual thieves, and 7 murderers ! They cost the State over a million and a quarter dollars, and this cost is still going on. These subjects are now, and rightly so, much in men's minds, and Prof. Kellicott's book Is well calculated to form a valuable addition to the growing literature on eugenics. The value of works of this kind, which bring before the people at large the vital facts and principles of a topic of supreme importance, can hardly be over-estimated. In particular, Prof. KelIicott's book commends itself for its conciseneSS, the apt way in which the essentials are picked out and clearly laid down. The presentation is in every way attractive, and the book should prove interesting and most prOftable reading to all classes. How TO READ PLANS. By Charles G. Peker. New York: Industrial Book Company, 1911. 12mo.; 104 pp.; illustrated. Price, 50 cents. The writer answers the question, “How can I learn to read a drawing?” by saying that the best way is to learn to make a drawing. Architectural lay-outs in plan, elevation and section are simply illustrated and described, with an explanation of the various markings and instruction as to following to scale. The methods of deslgnatlng walls, floors, columns, windows, the swing of doors, and so forth, is given, with a list of the symbols and abbreviations in use. There is a complete set of plans for a six-room frame cottage, and in conclusion the student is warned against some mistakes he is likely to make in his first attempts at plan-reading. IDRAULICA. Ing. Dott. Edgardo Zeni. Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1911. 16'mo.; 503 pp. The handbook begins with a rather extensive bibliography of the subject, and follows this with the tables and formulas in common use. Other sections of the manual take JP the various branches of the subject in logieal order, leading the reader on from the constitution and properties of water and its behavior under natural conditions, to the prin.ip1es and processes of hydrostatics and hydraulics. Two hundred and fifty engravings and a large insert add to the manual's attractiveness and enhance its value. MANUALE DI LIVELLAZIONE PRATICA. Com-pilato da Marro Veglio. Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1911. 12mo.; 130 pp.; 47 illustrations. A concise description of the various types of instruments in use, with their methods of application to the common exigencies and problems of field work. CONCRETE WORKERS' REFERENCE BOOKS. By A. A. Houghton, New York: The Norman W. Henley Publishing Comp'any, 1911. No. 3. Practical Silo Construction. No. 4. Molding Concrete Chimneys, Slate, and Roof Tiles. No. 5. Molding and Curing Ornamental Concrete. No. 6. Concrete Monuments, Mausoleums and Burial Vaults. These booklets represent a part of a series of practical monographs on popular concrete subjects. The author's purpose has been to presen t not only the usual types of .onstruction, but to fully explain and iIIustrate molds and systems that are not patented, which are equal in value and often superior to those restricted by patents. Each book is fully illustrated and the subject is treated in plain EngUsh. UNSOUNDNESS OF MIND. By T. S. Clous-ton, M.D., LL.D., F.R.S.E. New York: E. P . D utton&Co. , 1911. 8vo.; 360 pp .; 1 4 illustrations. Unsoundness of mind is here treated In its very broadest aspect; for Dr. Clouston's book covers all that vast region, psychological, sociological, and pathological, that lies outside of the normal mind. Among the diseases which a physician might classify as those of a mentally abnormal person are many that cannot be sharply defined from normal mental states. Because there is no reliable test between soundnes8 and unsoundness of mind, the author has necessarily included in his book much that is more charitably called eccentric. The book as a whole is an excellent example of good popular scientific writing of a kind that wiII do much to enlighten the public on special problems which are only vaguely appreciated and to which a certain amount of odium is unfortunately attached. THE BIRTH OF WORLDS AND SYSTEMS. By Prof. A. W. Bickerton. London and New York: Harper&Brothers, 1911. 16mo.; 162 pp. More than thirty years ago Prof. Bickerton published in the New Zealand Philosophical Institute a theory to account for the origin and life history of new stars. Prof. BiC'kerton's viewpoint that these celestial f'ashes result from the Impact of two celestial bodies has been adopted by many scientists of note, chief among whom is Svante Arrhenius, who, in his book “Das Werden der Welten” and his review of cosmogonies has ingeniously applied the theory and shown its cosmic consequences. In the main these conclusions are much the same as Prof. Bickerton dmws in the exceIIent little book before us. Although the theory is not yet generally accepted, it certainly explains in a most plausible way a number of astronomical phenomena that have long been puzzll,g. THE PRINCIPLES OF ELECTRO:DEPOSITION. A Laboratory Guide to Electro-Plating. By Samuel FIeld, A.R_C.Se., F.C S. New York: Lon!ans, Green & Co., 1911. 8vo.; 383 pp.; illustrated. Price, $1.80 net. The writer believes that many who are interes ted in electro-plating are in need of a more thorough knowledge of fundamental prlnciples. The opportunity of attending classes Is by no means open to all, and the present volume is otered as at least partly filling the need of special instruction. An elelentary knowledge of chemistry is taken for granted . Details of shop practice are but briefly mentioned. The exclusive use of the metric system i not insisted upon. Apparatus, standard solutions, tools, and processes are explained at length and there is a comprehensive appendix of tables and general information. GRAMMAR SCHOOL READER. Book One. By William H. Elson and Christine Keck. New York: Scott, Foresman CO. 12mo.; 344 pp. Price, 50 cents. The selections brought together within the covers of the E-Ison Reader are all old favorites. The arrangement follows an ascending scale of difficulty and literary quality, and there are review questions, words and phrases for study, and three-line biographical notes on the authors of the selections. We protest against the inclusion of “Casabianca,” which has no poetic Ir literary value and has been parodied so often that it now appeals only to the chlld'R sense of humor. If it carries any moral, it must be to the etect that uninteIIigent Obed-ience brings its own punishment.
This article was originally published with the title "New Books, Etc." in Scientific American 105, 11, 235 (September 1911)