Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/775

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
755
LITERARY NOTICES.

tion and mounting of objects, take up the remainder of the book. The student is referred to the larger works of Carpenter and others for a knowledge of the principles involved in the construction of the microscope, and of the course of procedure in the several departments of study to which it is applied.

Four Thousand Miles of African Travel. By Alvan S. Southworth, Secretary of the American Geographical Society. With Maps and Illustrations. Baker, Pratt & Co., New York. Price, $3.50.

The volume of Mr. Southworth is an interesting contribution to our knowledge of one of the most important regions of Central Africa. It is the well-told account of a journey made by the author as traveling correspondent of the New York Herald for the purpose of exploring the countries of the Upper Nile—their aspects, resources, and populations.

The journey commenced at Cairo on the 27th of December, 1871. "At noon on the 6th of February," says the traveler, "our Soudan dahabeah was parting the dark, rippling waters of the Blue Nile from the muddy flow of its sister confluent, the White Nile, and by one o'clock the solitary minaret of Khartoum was seen above the palms and acacias!" This city contains 40,000 inhabitants, is the capital of the Soudan, and is the finest provincial city of Central Africa.

The chapters in which the author gives an account of his trip up the White Nile through the heart of the Soudan are full of interest. The country is described as wonderfully fertile. With its present wretched cultivation it is more productive than the well-tilled fields of Italy. It abounds in cattle and camels, as well as wild animals. Under the present government the progress toward civilization has been immense. Within fifteen years we are informed, 30,000,000 people have been brought in some degree within the circle of semi-civilization. But only incipient steps are taken. The slave-trade and all the depressing influences of savagism still bear upon the people. It is believed that no country in the world is better adapted to the raising of cotton than the Soudan.

The author turned back from his travels at Arbah Island, 300 miles southward from Khartoum, and nearly 2,000 miles from the Mediterranean.

The volume is enlivened by vivid descriptions of natural scenery and phenomena. On the Nubian Desert the mirage sometimes breaks the dreary view. "On the 17th of January we were seemingly encompassed by this imponderable mirror. In the glowing heat the bed of the desert would seem to rise in rippling waves, and a line of rocks, at 200 yards distance, kept common time and looked like a regiment of men marching off the field in line of battle." The simooms, sand-storms, and sand-spouts, as well as the gorgeous tropical scenery, are vividly described. The horrors of the slave-trade, and the means by which this and other barbarisms may be overcome, are prudently and judiciously treated. Dr. Southworth has done excellent service in publishing this volume.

The American Journal of Microscopy and Popular Science. Issued by the Handicraft Publication Company, 37 Park Row, New York. Subscription price, 60 cents a year

This is a twelve-page monthly devoted mainly to the interests of microscopy. Its purpose, as expressed in the prospectus, is to diffuse a knowledge of the best methods of using the microscope, of valuable improvements in the instrument, and its accessories; of new methods of microscopical investigation, and of the most recent results of microscopical research. Besides general articles, of which the number before us offers a pleasant variety, some of them illustrated, there is a "Young Folks' Column," "Our Work-Table," "Book-Table," "Notes and Queries," etc.

Report of the Michigan Board of Health, 1874. Lansing: W. S. George & Co. Pp. 254.

Among the subjects treated in this report are the entailments of alcohol, draining for health, poisonous paper, relation of schools to health, resuscitation of the drowned, cerebro-spinal meningitis, meteorology of Central Michigan. Of the eight special reports, five were drawn up by Prof, R. C. Kedzie, M. D., whose labors are well known to all who take an interest in sanitary science.