the reviews, she claimed, were "bad".
But. as she told a librarians' conference, she had a painful problem: what
should she do about the unusual number
of requests for the Castle book ?
To the untutored, the answer would
appear obvious. Give the public what it
wants. Or, at least, the librarian should
have icael lhe book giving her such pain.
Bul she had not. She told Mr. Castle her
opinion of it was based solely on the
Eventually, her painful dilemma wets
resolved. She ordered the Castle book.
It should be emphasized that, as in
Teaneck, many librarians may be unaware that, by refusing to purchase a
book beeause of certain reviews, they're
unwitting accessories in the crime of
More than 12.1100 boob are published
annually. Obviously, few librarians can
read more than a handful. Obviously,
too. few libraries can purchase e\er\
Most librarians, therefore, rely on certain publications for guidance on what
Rarely do thev decide on the basis of
public demand. The Castle book, fm
example, stirred up extraordinarily large
requests in the nation's libraries, to
judge from a sampling. *1 et, as Boston's
chief librarian admits, such demand is
no determining influence.
Neither, thc Bostonian said, i- lhe fact
that a book, -inh a- Castle's, hit national
best-seller lists of both thi- \eu York
Times anel the- Herald Tribune.
What i- important an- iln- reviews appearing in tin- Times Sunday Book Sections anil such trade sources eii- the
Library Journal and lhe Virginia Kirkus
Miss Kirkus' ideological predilections
can be seen in her attack on the new
Ralph de Toledano anti-Communist novel
for failing in contribute to international
understanding, \pparently this means
that anti-Bed manuscripts should be submitted to the Kremlin for approval.
Books like' Billions, Blunders ami
Baloney rarel) meet with Miss Kirku-'
acceptance. In the Times, the Castle-
book was subjected lo ei hatchet job.
more \inelie-ii\e' than usual. The Library
Journal also denounced the book.
The Journal, since il caters specifically to librarians, has an enormous sa\
over whal Vmericans find in their li-
braries. I nfortunately, its recommendations generally an- questionable.
John Caldwell, a writer nn the Far
East, studied the- Journal's choices in his
field. Invariably, hi' told a Senate committee I.i-l year, luniks critical of tin-
Chinese Nationalists are touted. Anti-
Communist 1 k-. In- said, -inh ei- Ger-
aldine Fitch's Formosa Beachhead, either
are condemned or ignored. Books sym-
I rge your friends to ask for FACTS
FORUM NEWS at ihe newsstand, or gel
extra copies there for lliem. If your news
dealer does nol have FACTS FORUM
NEWS, tell leiiii il is now easy lo (ret and
easy to sell.
pathetic with congressional probes, such
as Burnham's It eb of Subversion, are
rarely recommended. Unsurprisingly,
therefore, the Journal described the- Castle book as "ein intemperate attack, often
bordering on the hysterical . . . unfortunate . . . noisy manner of presentation. . . ."
Librarians were advised tn "await ,\c-
nieinel." meaning thev shnulel ke-cp l.ei--
ile- nut of their libraries unless the demand was overwhelming.
By giving such aiKiee'. lhe- Journal
has arrogated fnr ilself the powers "1 ;e
censor. If anyone else presumed lo tell
librarians whal not lo buy. lhe Jouriiiit
undoubtedly would accuse him nf "book-
Thi' Journal's influence is enormous,
according tn Boston's chief librarian.
John M. Carroll. In order in accommodate local tastes, Boston's library system
supplements the trade papers with it-
own reading system.
This consists of "five representative
branch librarians, advised b) ministers
anil other communit) leaders," Mi. Carroll -aid. Tin- committee decides on ei
I k's nn tils en lack nf them on the
basis "f trade reviews, as well ei- one
submitted b) a local reader. Tin- committee's analysis then is sent In tin- vetri-
mis branch libraries.
Ibii'- whal weis sent out on Billions.
Blunders and Baloney,
This lunik i- subtitled 'The fantastic
-ieirv eel how Uncle Sain is se|iiati(iering
your iiiiiiii*\ overseas." It might In- well tn
mite- tlieet tin- emphasis lu thi- statement
-hiiulr] he on tin- word '"fantastic." If Mr.
Castle lieeel been ee ['it la— tanlee-tu elieel a
hit more factual hi- book would have carried greater ue'i^ht. Ill this -ennui and
tiirv treatment lu- pulls no punches and is
impartial in his criticism from the President down.
Before deciding in l>u> ihi- item, it
might la' we'll tee rcael the' following re-
views: ^eu York Times Hemk Review,
February 13, page 22; Veti York Herald
Tiil,nn. Hunk Review, February 20, page
5: Saturday lln inc. February 26, peem-
\ie importanl subjeel nut tun adroitl)
handled. I ndoubtedly then- ivill lu- calls
fnr this title: in leu I there hee\e' eelia-eleK
been many eal Is. but buy with caution.
Nut leer replacement
Mr. Carroll frankly admitted this
comment was "not designed lo encourage purchase of the book." He said it
was not unusual to cite reviews appearing in the two New York newspapers.
Mr. Carroll was unaware that New
England's best-known newsman, the
Boston Herald's Bill (ainningham, hail
devoted a Sunday column of some 4,000
words I" high praise nf lhe' Castle bunk.
Or thai both the Boston Globe eunl Boston Post heul warmly recommended the
"Local newspaper appraisals generally
are nol profound," Mr. Carroll explained, 'moreover, we -ce-k guidance in i -
The fact that, as reported by the library ilself. "there have already been
many calls" for the Castle hnnk was unimportant.
"This occurs from lime to time, he
said. "A newspaper will refer to ei book,
or Walter \\ inchell mighl mention it,
eunl there is phei lenal interest. Which
is whal happened in lhe Case of Castle.
Librarians know when the public wants
to read. We seek to avoid deadwood,
books not likely to have permanenl
Mr. Carroll voiced bewildermenl in
the interest shown in the circular carrying comment on the Castle I k. "After
all," he said, "we can'l read everything.
Theit. of course', is nol the issue'.
Tin- issue concerns the objectivit) of
those empowered to recommend bunks.
In Boston, al least, thai objectivit) is
questionable. Consider the Boston analysis nl I'.niiK lleihn's sympathetic biography of Chiang Kai-shek. This recenl
lunik was described ets "designed for th*
China lobby appeal. . . . \nl all readers
will agree with her interpretation. . ■ -
There «ill be a demand, but il is nol '
first choice. ... A more unbiased interpretation may be forthcoming.
The cliched phraseolog) clearl) reveals the leftward thinking of those who
have- et lot to -a\ about w hell is purchased b) Boston libraries.
Obviously the hoped-for "more unbiased interpretation" of Chiang's li'1'
would I"- the traditional one picturing
the Cismo as ee scoundrel. However, Ed-
win ll. Reischauer's (( anicd In IsW"
Policy was recommended. In urging
eventual recognition of Bed China, I'11"
book takes the Lattimore line.
\- stated, the merits of these I k*
are not the issue.
The' real issue is whether librarians
should In- permitted to pul their """
form nf "thoughl ei'lllnil" Over "ll il"'
And. whether those in high placcSi
from lln- While House down, will tak'
cognizance nl this form nf insulin""
"book-burning." as they did see forth'
rightly when ee \\ isconsin senator sough'
in remove Communist bonks tin"1
I nited States overseas propaganda "'
FACTS FORUM NEWS, September, 195s