A Train of Powder, by Rebecca West
This book is a collection of six of the best of Miss West’s postwar essays. Four of the papers appeared in the New Yorker: “Greenhouse with Cyclamens I,” a report from Nuremberg on the trial of the Nazi leaders; “Opera in Greenville,” an assessment of the trial of the white taxi drivers charged with murder for the lynching of a Negro; “Mr. Setty and Mr. Hume,” the story of a British murder trial in which the defendant was proved to have dropped the dismembered body of the victim from an airplane but could not, upon the evidence, have been the perpetrator of the killing as the prosecution charged; “The Better Mousetrap,” an account of the trial and conviction of William Marshall, a British Foreign Office employee, for giving secret information to a secretary of the Russian Embassy. The two additions, “Greenhouse with Cyclamens II” and “III,” are both concerned with Germany; neither has been published here before. The first is a reexamination of the German situation at the time of the Berlin blockade and air-lift; the second is a reassessment of the Nuremberg trial, as of 1954, provoked by publication of Sword in the Scales, a criticism of the trial by Hans Fritzsche, Goebbels’ radio chief, who like Von Papen and Schacht was acquitted by the International Tribunal.
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