National Geographic : 1904 Apr
GEOGRAPHIC LITERATURE Korea. By Angus Hamilton. With map and illustrations. Pp. xliii + 313. 52 by 8 inches. New York. Chas. Scribner's Sons. 1904. $1.50 net. This is an exceedingly clear and able description of the Koreans and their country and of the political and com mercial problems of which Korea is the cause. Mr Hamilton defines the people as follows: "The Koreans are an agricultural people, and most of the national indus tries are connected with agriculture. More than seventy per cent of the popu lation are farmers. " The peaceable, plodding farmer of Korea has his counterpart in his bull. The Korean peasant and his weary bull are made for one another. Without his ruminating partner, the work would be impracticable. It drags the heavy plough through the deep mud of the rice fields, and over the rough surface of the grain lands; it carries loads of brick and wood to the market, and hauls the unwieldy market cart along the country roads. The two make a mag nificent pair; each is a beast of burden. " They submit to oppression and to the cruelty of the Yamen ; they endure every form of illegal taxation, and they ruin themselves to pay' squeezes,' which exist only through their own humil ity. "At the present date the farmer of Korea is the ideal child of nature; superstitious, simple, patient, and igno rant. " To the wayfarer and stranger the individual farmer is supremely and sur prisingly hospitable. A foreigner dis cussing the peculiarities of their scenery, their lands, and the general details of their life with them, is struck by their profound reverence for everything be yond their own understanding, and their amazing sense of the beautiful in nature. " The Korean is omnivorous. Birds of the air, beasts of the field, and fish from the sea, nothing comes amiss to his palate. Dog-meat is in great re quest at certain seasons; pork and beef with the blood undrained from the car case, fowls and game-birds cooked with the lights, giblets, head and claws intact, fish, sun-dried and highly malo dorous, all are acceptable to him. " Their excesses make them martyrs to indigestion." A Handbook of Modern Japan. By Ernest W. Clement. With maps and illustrations. Pp. 395. 5 by 7 1 inches. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co. 1904. $1.50 . Mr Clement,who has lived for 15 years in Japan, has collected in his handbook exactly the information regarding that nation sought by every one at the pres ent time. His aim has been to portray Japan in all its features as a modern world power. The descriptions are con cise and effective. There are admirable chapters on the Physiography, History, Local Self-government, Japan as a World Power, Japanese Christendom, and the Mission of Japan. An excellent feature is a bibliography of reference books at the end of each chapter, while in the ap pendix are numerous tables giving in teresting statistics. One of these shows that the ratio of cultivated land to the total area of the country is only 13.8 per cent; in Belgium the ratio is 53.9; in Prussia, 50.3; in France, 50.2; in England, 27.9 . The volume is well illustrated with pictures of important persons and scenes. BOOKS RECEIVED Greater Russia. By Wirt Gerrare. Il lustrated. Pp. 337. 6 by 9 inches. NewYork: TheMacMillanCo. 1904. $3.00. Birds of California. By Irene Grosvenor Wheelock. Illustrated. Pp. xxviii+ 578. 52 by 712 inches. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co. 1904. $1.50.