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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/577

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561
LITERARY NOTICES.

State and Federal. The idea that may be derived from the résumé of State Constitutions here given is that much might yet be done to bring some of these into a more rational and business-like form. We are strongly reminded how many things with us are yet in the experimental stage, and the thought is not very far in the background that much of our experimenting has been somewhat crudely done.

Prof. Macy has abstained from all criticism of institutions. Even in pointing out the differences between British cabinet government and the system established here, he does not venture on any hint as to which on the whole is the better, or as to which is the better even from any partial point of view. He does not hesitate, however, to condemn the "spoils system," giving in detail his reasons for regarding it as one of the plague-spots of our political life. We think that perhaps a few words more than he has actually given might have been devoted to the Civil-Service Bill at present in force; and it might not have been amiss to show how difficult both political parties seem to find it to carry out their pledges in favor of civil-service reform. Take it all in all, however, as a hand-book of the political institutions of the United States, Prof. Macy's little work is deserving of high praise for completeness, accuracy, and good sense. We hope it will come into wide use.

A Manual of Public Health. By A. Wynter Blyth, M. R. C. S., etc. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 653. Price, $5.25.

This work is a comprehensive and authoritative text-book for officers of public health departments. Its first section, of three chapters, is devoted to vital statistics, giving methods of recording the data, and of calculating birth and death rates, life tables, etc., and describing certain calculating machines. The next section deals with air, ventilation, and warming, taking up the general character of air, with methods of analyzing it, the principles and methods of ventilating and warming, and including a chapter on measuring cubic space and reporting on ventilation. Two short chapters describe the common instruments used for meteorological observations. A section on water supply tells the usual sources of water, and gives microscopical, biological, and both qualitative and quantitative chemical processes for water analysis. There is also a chapter describing the supplies of the various companies furnishing water in the city of London. The section on sewerage describes the construction of house drains and of sewers, the arrangements for certain special systems of sewerage, and various methods for the disposal of sewage. The sewering of London is also described, with a map. Under the head of nuisances, the processes employed in a large number of manufactures yielding offensive waste products are given.

The section on disinfecting contains experimental methods for testing the value of a disinfectant, an account of various apparatuses for disinfection by heat and of the general process, and information concerning chemical disinfectants, giving especial prominence to the halogens. About two hundred pages are devoted to zymotic diseases, in which the modern general theory of microparasites is first given, and then the special character and course of each disease of this class. Single chapters deal with the construction of isolation hospitals, the general principles of diet, and the duties of sanitary officers aa prescribed by English statutes. Inspection of food is the subject of the closing section, and this gives the characteristics of unfit vegetable and animal foods, and describes diseases of animals which make their flesh unwholesome. There are sixty-five cuts and plates, and an index.

English Fairy Tales. Collected by Joseph Jacobs, Editor of Folk-Lore. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 253.

"Who," the editor asks, "says that English folk have no fairy tales of their own? The present volume contains only a selection out of some one hundred and forty, of which I have found traces in this country [England]. It is probable that many more exist." A quarter of the tales in the volume have been collected during the last ten years or so, and some of them have not been hitherto published. The name Fairy Tales is given to the collection, though few of the stories speak of fairies. Yet they are what the little ones mean when they call for fairy tales. They do not call for "folk tales" or "nursery tales," and this is the only name we can give them. The term