The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947

Book Reviews

The author's breezy, novelistic style may be disapproved of
by some as flippant and out of place; however, his style does lend
to readability. Besides the non-existence of footnotes, the book
has a confusing lack of dates, an overuse of colloquialisms and
modernisms, and, perhaps worst of all, the appearance of being
hastily written. Even with these imperfections Dowdey's book
should appeal to those who like their history sugar-coated.
JOSEPH W. YOUNG
Dallas, Texas
The Quest of American Life. By George Norlin. Boulder (Uni-
versity of Colorado), 1945. Pp. xvi+280.
The volume here under review is a posthumous publication,
appearing three years after the death of its author, George
Norlin. It is listed on the title page as a volume in Studies in
the Humanities of the University of Colorado Studies. For
twenty-two years, from 1917 to 1939, George Norlin was presi-
dent of the University of Colorado, and then, after his retire-
ment, he served as research professor in the humanities until
his death in 1942. Although the preface by Dr. R. G. Gustafson
does not reveal anything on the point, it may be assumed that
the main work of composition was done during these last three
years of the author's life. It seems safe to assume, also, that
some of the groundwork on the book was done during the presi-
dency of Dr. Norlin.
In the introduction the author says that the quest of Amer-
ican life "has always been and is now for a larger freedom."
The all-pervading, the omnipresent word of the study, however,
is the word humanism, which Norlin defined as "an attitude of
mind and heart which holds to the preciousness of human life,
which has faith in the potential dignity and worth of our human
being apart from the trappings of wealth or station, and which
strives to create a social soil and climate wherein every human
personality may take root and flower and be fruitful, each in
accordance with the nature and capacity of each."
Norlin deplored that we as a people are not agreed on the
meaning of freedom and referred to the difference between
Lincoln and the slaveholders on this point; he did not agree
with the early twentieth century philosophy of big business;
he said that we owe much to the Puritans of New England but
correctly admitted that they did not establish freedom of wor-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/. Accessed December 25, 2014.