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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/427

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LITERARY NOTICES.

the world; but, however the comparison may hold between ourselves and other nations in this respect, it is evident that we want more intelligence, more of true culture, and that such intelligence, such culture, is the only influence on which we can depend to moderate the passions which our civic contests are so prone to generate. It is to science we must look for help—to science in its widest and noblest sense. A man may possess much technical knowledge, and his practical judgment may remain narrow, and his moral nature commonplace, if not absolutely inferior. The science that elevates is not the science which is taught or learned merely as a means of gaining a living; it is not the science that sharpens greed and gives a more cunning acquisitiveness; it is the science that enables a man to live in an atmosphere of general ideas, and that makes the whole world interesting to him apart from all purely personal concerns. It is science in this sense that should be brought to bear upon the minds of the young in our schools and colleges. It is science in this sense that we contend for as an integral part of all education. It is for the lack of general scientific conceptions, supported by a basis of solid knowledge in some particular branch or branches of science, that men are to-day so largely the prey of political demagogues, and come so near losing control of their actions in times of excitement. The lesson of the election is, that our national culture is but a shallow culture, considering the vast and even dangerous responsibilities devolving upon the individual citizen. Granting even that other nations can manage to do with no higher a development of intelligence, with a distribution of knowledge no more liberal than that which exists in this republic, it does not follow that we can safely be content with our present attainments in these respects. It is well for us that the next presidential election is four years ahead. Let the intervening four years be years of earnest struggle for the advancement of science, for the spread of a true culture, that in our next crisis the influence of ideas may be a little, if ever so little, greater, and that that of personal passions a little, if ever so little, less.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

A Compend Of Geology. By Joseph Le Conte, Professor of Geology and Natural History in the University of California; author of "Elements of Geology," etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 399. Price, $1.60.

This is the third volume that has appeared of the new and attractive series of "Appletons' Science Text-Books." The great popularity and success of the author's larger work fur colleges led to the belief, expressed by many, that he would be the best man to prepare a shorter work suited to general school use. Such works should certainly not be left to compilers, on the pretext that general introductory books are of less importance than advanced treatises. It is desirable, first of all, in preparing a good text-book, small or large, that the author should know his subject, directly and thoroughly, and then that he should be capable of presenting it in a form adapted to the grade of students for whom it is written. Professor Le Conte is a high authority in geology, a life-long student of American geology, and an examination of the present work convinces us that he has remarkable tact and judgment in adapting his exposition to the grade of mind for which this volume is intended. It is not a primer of geology, and makes no attempt to reduce the order of ideas, with which this science is conversant, to the capacities of children. It implies the usual mental maturity of scholars in our schools fifteen or sixteen years of age, and to these the book is made thoroughly intelligible by the effort required in class-room study. It is properly a book for beginners, and at the same time presents a view of the subject sufficiently full and complete for the general purposes of education. It is written in a simple, clear, and popular style, and is so abundantly illustrated as to