In the Editor's Confidence

In the Editor's Confidence

April 15 1942
In the Editor's Confidence

In the Editor's Confidence

April 15 1942

In the Editor's Confidence

WE WERE listening to two men discussing Bruce Hutchison's new book on

Canada — “The Unknown Country.” One said, “There’s some splendid descriptive writing in it, but I think Hutchison is fundamentally a bit of a romanticist. I mean he seems to be something of an idealist, if you know what I mean.”

The other man said, “Idealist be blowed. He’s practical. Why the book’s selling for $4.50, and do you know what the lending library is charging? FIVE CENTS a day ! I asked the library woman if she’d never heard of the wartime price ceiling.”

We meekly suggested that perhaps authors don’t have much to say in fixing book prices; that production costs, style of book, potential market and other considerations did enter into it. And that with few exceptions the royalties received by authors, if worked out on no other basis than that of so much per working day, would scarcely cause Mr. Ilsley to swoon with delight.

But we meander. What we set out to say was that what has impressed us is the number of folk who have paid $4.50 to read about their own country, and who are discussing the book with vigorous interest. That fact adds zest to page five of this issue of Maclean's, whereon Bruce Hutchison, with nary a preliminary cough or er, says boldly, “Look, This Is Us.”

©The thinking of the peoples of English tongue has undergone more drastic amendment during the past twelve months than during the previous hundred years. One of our belated discoveries is that peoples of other races and color actually do think and reason along lines totally different from those we have considered universal simply because they were ours. Of course, it hardly seems right, but it’s so. We have long known that in battle the Japanese have a reckless disregard for life, but we’ve never really understood the reason. On page eleven, in “Japan’s Cult of Death,” Morris C. Shumiatcher supplies the reason.

• In 1940, Mr. Shumiatcher, a graduate of the University of Alberta, won an essay contest on Canadian-Japanese relations, conducted by the Japan Times. The prize was a trip to Japan. There, he tells us, he made every effort to get off the beaten track, away

from the official sponsors, but it seems that no matter where he decided to go, a Japanese policeman was seized by the same idea at the same moment. However, the deification of Japanese war dead wasn’t any secret, and his observations, in respect of which he writes, were freely made. Mr. Shumiatcher is now taking a postgraduate course at University of Toronto Law School. His father, a Calgary barrister, came from Russia thirty-two years ago.

©When a gale-driven lifeboat carrying injured, frozen survivors from a torpedoed merchant ship reached a small port on our Atlantic coast, the townsfolk were able to render them immediate, vitally necessary aid because they had prepared themselves to meet any emergency. Identifying names have had to be withheld, but Thomas H. Raddall’s article on page ten is a factual record of community readiness that contains a lesson worth studying.

©We haven’t had much opportunity to practice the art lately, but in our prime we were one of the best steam shovel watchers of our generation. If, like us, you never can resist the fascination of a power scoop at work, you will have a grand time with Bill Kehoe’s narrative of his astonishing mastery of the science of scooping, set forth in Neill Wilson’s breezy yarn, “Listen, Boss, Now Listen !” in the excavation on page twelve. Also we’re sure you’ll like “Spring Practice,” by Howard Brubaker, on page seven.

©The story of the Atlantic Bomber Ferry is effectively told on page sixteen by D. K. Findlay, and Beverley Baxter’s London Letter, Backstage at Ottawa and Cross-Country are neatly assembled on pages fourteen and fifteen.

©Now, if you’ll excuse us, wre must do something to placate a Montreal reader who complains that we are responsible for impeding the war effort by making him late for work. He says that while journeying by streetcar to his place of employment, he became so engrossed in the installment of our serial, “Toast to Tomorrow,” that he went six blocks past his transfer point.