man of profound sensibility to his human environment, and of irrepressible sympathy with the weakness, the difficulties, the errors, and the miseries of his fellow-beings. His book has the double object of pointing out the more common and fruitful sources of those debilities and infirmities from which people suffer through their prejudices, ignorance, unhealthy habits, and unnatural practices, and of arousing them to more earnest, hearty, and determined effort at amendment.
It is just at this point that criticism intervenes with its accusation that our author writes with exaggeration and extravagance. If this objection implies that facts are distorted or truth overstrained in Dr. Oswald's pages, we believe it will be found to have a very slender basis; if it is a mere matter of taste, the use of superlatives is certainly excusable here if anywhere. Dr. Oswald is inspired with the hope of mending things; and, in writing for the people, he does not believe that noncommittal understatements are best suited to answer that purpose. With feeble conventional protests which arouse no indignation and provoke no action Dr. Oswald has little patience. He writes both to divert and to convert his readers, and his essays are therefore doubly contrasted with the subdued regulation monographs of a scientific period that is cultivated out of half its life. To produce any salutary and permanent reform, the evils to be corrected require to be presented in a very strong light and vividly realized. "Cool indifference, whatever subjective advantages it may have, will never set a rubbish-heap of old shams and errors afire."
There is but one thing worse, in the view of Dr. Oswald, than the injurious practices which undermine the stamina and lower the health and life of a people, and that is the dull, conventional acquiescence in a confessedly vicious state of things. Holding that this widespread and culpable torpor is due largely to the preaching of an ancient gospel of anti-naturalism, he maintains that its only possible counteraction is the vigorous and vehement inculcation of the gospel of nature, and his book is animated throughout with this preaching. The mere lazy indifference of those who are comfortable in prevailing customs, and content with the decorous rule of Mrs. Grundy, is sufficiently intolerable; but when these fall back upon a philosophy of life which maligns the natural instincts, libels the world we live in, and promises another to compensate for the breakdown of this, he has only hot denunciation of the doctrine and all who teach it. However we may object to pungency of speech, Dr. Oswald may at any rate plead the abundant example of his adversaries in the use of it.
The "Physical Education" is one of the most wholesome and valuable books that have emanated from the American press in many a day. Not only can everybody understand it, and, what is more, feel it, but everybody that gets it will be certain to read and re-read it. We have known of the positive and most salutary influence of the papers as they appeared in the "Monthly," and the extensive demand for their publication in a separate form shows how they have been appreciated. Let those who are able and wish to do good buy it wholesale and give it to those less able to obtain it. It will be a boon to benighted multitudes.
The Voyage of the Yega round Asia and Europe, with a Historical Review of Previous Journeys along the North Coast of the Old World. By A. E. Nordenskiöld. Translated by Alexander Leslie.With five Steel Portraits, numerous Maps, and Illustrations. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 741. Price, 86.
The frequent references which have been made within the last two years to the enterprise of which this work gives the first full and detailed account, attest the value which the world attaches to the problem which it was designed, if possible, to solve, that of forcing a northeast passage to China and Japan—a problem which, the author remarks, "for more than three hundred years had been a subject of competition between the world's foremost commercial states and most daring navigators, and which, if we view it in the light of a circumnavigation of the Old World, had, for thousands of years back, been an object of desire to navigators." Professor Nordenskiöld was led to undertake this voyage by the success of his previous voyages, in which he had reached the mouth of the Yenisei River by sea from