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NOTES AND REVIEWS
Through Siberia, the Land of the Future. By FRIDJTOF NANSEN.
New York: Frederick A. Stokes. Co. 1914. Pp. xvi, 478. This latest book by Dr. Nansen is the outcome of an attempt made by the Siberian Company “to open up a regular trade connexion with the interior of Siberia, via the Kara Sea and the mouth of the Yenisei." In the fall of 1913 Dr. Nansen went with this expedition as the company's guest from Norway to the Yenisei, from there as the guest of the Russian government up the Yenisei to Yeniseisk, by carriage to Krasnoyarsk, then by the Siberian railroad to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, and back through the Amúr district which is just being opened up, to St. Petersburg
The development of Siberia has been to a large degree hindered by the high freight charges on her produce necessitated by the long overland route to her nearest market and one of her greatest problems is to find a cheaper substitute for that route. If the interior of Siberia can be made accessible by water for at least part of the year the result will be a great acceleration of her economic progress. Various attempts have been made to enter Siberia from the north and the result of these recent expeditions seems to establish the fact that except under unusual circumstances the Kara Sea route is a possible one and while it has not yet been made commercially practical, there seems to be no good reason why it should not. Then through the Yenisei a large part of the interior of Siberia could be reached at a much lower cost for transportation than at present.
The second great problem of Siberia is that of labor. To hold the land it must be colonized and so far Russia has made little headway, though the encouragement she has given to immigration in recent years has served to increase the number of colonists. The difficulties in the way are numerous; Siberia has acquired a bad name as a dumping ground for criminals; it is a difficult land in which to gain a foothold and the immigrants are apt to come from those who are unsuccessful in Russia and prove absolutely unable to meet Siberian conditions; the expense of marketing their produce affects especially unfavorably the new settlers; and Russia has not a surplus of population which she can afford to send out for the development of the practically unlimited resources of Siberia. On the eastern frontier the problem is complicated by the presence of the yellow race. Russia is unwilling to have her territory populated by Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese and she has passed severe legislation against their immigration; but she is utterly unable without their labor to develope the resources of her eastern country. One of the results of her attitude is the growth of a strong feeling of hostility on the part of the Chinese and the race-problem which is developing is likely to prove serious. It is with this in mind that a railroad is being constructed through the Amúr district which will connect Vladivostok with the main line of the Siberian Railroad and be entirely under Russian control. The character of the country would suggest its being built along the boundary between Amúr and Manchuria but a much more difficult route has been chosen through the interior so that there shall be no question of Chinese or Japanese interference. In addition only Russian workmen are employed though the cost of such labor is enormous because the men can work only four months in the year and must be paid for the additional three months occupied in their transportation to and from Russia each year. The government however feels repaid by the fact that about twenty per cent of these workmen bring their families and settle in the district annually.
Dr. Nansen saw Siberia under the most favorable conditions and his picture of Siberian city life is unexpectedly attractive.
The Gateway to the Sahara. By CHARLES WELLINGTON FURLONG.
New York: Scribners, New Edition. 1914. Pp. xxx, 363. This new edition is a reprint of the one published in 1909 with the addition of two chapters bringing the history of Tripolitania to date with an account of the Italian occupation. The original edition was an unusually successful picture of life in Tripoli with its odd and fascinating customs, under the old régime, and of experiences even more interesting with the inhabitants of the desert.
In the two added chapters Mr. Furlong shows briefly Tripolitania's strategic position in the Mediterranean which made it a desirable addition to Italian territory and the state of European affairs which permitted Italy to seize “the psychological moment with one hand and Tripoli with the other.” An account of the campaign however shows the difficulty of Italy's task for the Turkish army with its "five thousand poorly clad, underpaid Turks” supported only by bands of Arabs and forced to take refuge in the desert, were able for a year and a half to keep penned up on the litoral a great modern army of one hundred thousand Italians, equipped with all the necessities and most of the luxuries of warfare. It was only by carrying the war into Turkish waters and aided by the pressure of the Balkan War that Italy compelled Turkey to surrender her hold upon the province and even now the conquest of Tripolitania has but begun.
Mr. Furlong puts high the price already paid by Italy in men and money for this new colony and still higher the price that must be paid if Libia, as it has been rechristened, is not to remain a white elephant on her hands. The development of this region in the days when it was a Roman colony shows that its economic possibilities are almost without limit provided that great public works are instituted, especially for promoting irrigation; but such works demand a great deal more money than Italian finances seem likely to be able to provide in the near future. Progress depends too upon a sufficient supply of the right kind of labor, but while Italians are emigrating in sufficient numbers from the mother country, this North African colony seems to have little attraction for them as compared with the western world. The hope for the future of Libia lies in Italy's "wonderful faculty for adaptation, scientific tendencies, willingness of her people to labor, her new enthusiasm, greater unity, common purpose and interest, well-organized army, increasing navy and economic growth.”
The American Japanese Problem. By SIDNEY L. Gulick. New
York: Scribners. 1914. Pp. x, 349. Professor Gulick by reason of his long residence in Japan, has acquired a sympathy and liking for the Japanese which causes him to take a decidedly pro-Japanese view of California's Oriental problem. While the problem cannot be solved by denying its existence, it is perhaps well to balance the rabid utterances of the western coast press by equally pronounced statements on the other side.
Professor Gulick discusses the various charges made against the Japanese as undesirable immigrants. Their undesirability on economic grounds is dismissed with the report of Labor Commissioner of California made in 1910, which covered an investigation of the economic status of the Japanese and proved unexpectedly favorable to them. That Japanese work long hours and under unhygienic conditions, ought to be provided against by legislation rather than by exclusion. In agriculture, they have not driven out white labor so much as they have made possible the development of specific crops to which white labor is not adapted. Various other charges such as the failure to keep up leased property, the driving by Japanese settlements of the whites from certain sections, the exhibition of a spirit of clannishness can be brought against the immigrants of any race. That the Japanese are not as satisfactory to the Californians as the Chinese, is due principally to the fact that the Chinese are content to remain in the servant class but the Japanese are more ambitious and want to become independent landowners. An investigation into the question of Japanese business morality yields rather unsatisfactory results for it is there that American and Japanese ideals are most apt to clash, but at least the larger merchants among the Japanese in California are trusted to the same extent as American firms, and the development of higher commercial standards among her people is a task to which Japan is successfully addressing herself.
The Japanese are making many efforts to solve the problem, by means of associations among themselves and the sending over of prominent statesmen from Japan to study the problem on the ground. As to whether America can assimilate the Japanese, the answer seems to depend more upon her willingness than upon her ability, through Professor Gulick does not take into consideration any great increase in the number of Japanese immigrants which would make the problem much more difficult. As to the restriction of immigration, his contention is that, while Japan is living up to her “gentleman's agreement," the exclusion of Japanese because they are Japanese, has created a bitter feeling in Japan. He suggests a change in our immigration laws such that, without materially increasing the number of Japanese immigrants, they might be subject only to restrictions that would apply to immigrants from all nations.
The Faith of Japan. By Tasuku HARADA. New York: Mac
millan. 1914. Pp. ix, 190. All but the last of the eight chapters in this book were delivered by Dr. Harada, the president of Doshisha University, before the Hartford Theological Seminary in the autumn of 1910 and have just been brought out in book form. The faith of Japan is a