This book could not possibly have made its appearance at a more opportune time than the present. It may well serve a greater purpose than even Dr. Price himself foresaw when he undertook the painstaking task of correlating past history with the accumulating knowledge that is gained as the various sciences gradually unfold. Today more than ever before understanding and clear thought are needed concerning areas suitable for receiving refugees from Europe. It now seems certain that because of intolerance many people must soon find homes in a new environment.
Dr. Price has traced the record of many types of white settlements in the tropics and has deduced the known facts and outlined the uncertain theories. He shows certain splendid achievements in recent history; he also shows that the future lies in scientific investigation and that political and economic policies will never succeed unless based on the facts so established.
While others have dealt with particular aspects of the problem and with specific regions, no one before, I think, has attempted as comprehensive a synthesis as has Dr. Price. Not, of course, that he makes any pretension to completeness. That would hardly be possible in a pioneer work upon a problem whose components are as yet but barely resolved. One need do no more than glance at the numerous bibliographical references to sense the scope and complexity of the problem-- and these references represent merely a selection from an immense specialized literature, historical, economic, social, administrative, medical, climatic, geological, and geographical. The book, however, derives its outstanding value from the author's broad outlook. To cover so wide a range requires judgment and a type of courage that many specialists lack.
My own experience has been in the Netherlands East Indies and Malaya, where for many years I was occupied in the development and operation of rubber plantations. I have studied soil, climatic, economic, and labor conditions in Siam, Indo-China, the Philippines, India, Ceylon, the West Coast of Africa, Brazil, and Central America, though I have been concerned with these problems as they are related to the white "sojourners" rather than to the "white settlers." Such men and women expect to spend perhaps twenty or twenty-five years in the tropics, relieved only by occasional visits to their homes in the temperate zone. Science and improved communications are gradually increasing the length of tropical service of these people, and in time many white "sojourners" may develop into "white settlers" desirous of establishing permanent homes.