Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/846

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ing stout. "The quieting effects of a few pounds of fat" gave him a "clew to much of the restless activity of Americans"; this led to "much thought" during the next ten years on the subject of "physiological feeding," and, as one of the results, we have the present book. All there is of value in its sixty pages could be better said in as many lines, and they would then contain nothing beyond the merest commonplaces of physiology.

What is the Bible? By J. T. Sunderland. New York: Putnam's Sons. 1878. Pp. 189. $1.

The object of the author in composing this book was to help readers of the Bible to be intelligent readers, not only in the small and meager sense of knowing by heart a multitude of texts, but also in the larger and more worthy way of understanding that book as a whole—whence it came, how it came, what it is, and what relation it bears to other sacred books of the race. The Bible is treated with a reverent spirit by Mr. Sunderland, but that reverence does not prevent him from discerning and pointing out its blemishes. He compares the book to a gold mine, rich indeed in the precious metal, but still a mine. There are fools who insist that the whole "output" of this mine is pure gold; no less is the folly of others who, because they see earth and quartz mixed with the gold, declare that the mine contains no gold. "The part of rational men and women," says the author, "surely is to delve earnestly in the mine, casting out, without hesitation, what plainly is not gold, but saving and treasuring up what clearly is gold."

How to parse. By Rev. E. A. Abbott, D. D. Boston; Roberts Brothers. 1878. Pp. 343. $1.

The title of this book is not a very attractive one, and will repel, we fancy, rather than win readers. "Parsing" has fallen into disrepute, and few persons will care to know how it should be performed. But if, overlooking the title, we examine the book, it will be found to contain a great deal of valuable information. What is more, it will serve to give the student an insight into the scientific principles of English grammar.

The Natural History of the Agricultural Ant of Texas. By Henry Christopher McCook. Philadelphia: The author (Academy of Natural Sciences). 1879. Pp. 310, with 24 Lithographic Plates. $4.

A more instructive and entertaining matter of study than the ant tribe it would not be easy to find in the whole animal kingdom outside of man; and, of all the ants, certainly none are more worthy of our attention than the species described in Mr. McCook's present work. A naturalist resident in Texas, the late Dr. Gideon Lincecum, had at sundry times between 1861 and the period of his death, some five or six years ago, contributed to the proceedings of various learned societies notes on the habits of the agricultural ant, but his observations, as we learn from Mr. McCook, were discredited by not a few entomological writers. It was the author's good fortune to confirm in almost every particular the results of the Texas naturalist, and to add to them a multitude of fresh observations of his own. We therefore heartily welcome the volume, not only on account of the information it contains touching the agricultural ant, but also because it is a triumphant vindication of one of the most ingenious of American naturalists. Mr. McCook, in successive chapters, treats of the surface architecture and work of the agricultural ants, their harvesting habits, their subterranean architecture, their modes of mining, their food and feeding, their "toilet, sleeping, and funeral habits," their social and (if the term be allowable) their political relations, their migrations and movements, their wars; and, finally, he gives a detailed description of their anatomy.

House Air the Cause and Promoter of Disease. By Frank Donaldson, M. D. Baltimore: Innes & Co. print. 1878. Pp. 23.

The author insists on the necessity of frequently renewing the air of inhabited rooms. To the objection that fuel is too costly, and people can not afford to let in the cold air, he replies: "True, more fuel must be consumed. But is not the additional expense a small matter compared with the healthfulness resulting from it? Fresh air is better worth paying for than even food; it is more essential to health."