It has been said that those who wrote the Treaty of Versailles, confronted as they were with the opposing claims of national groups in many corners of Europe, learned much about geography. Lloyd George is reported to have been astounded when he heard about such an impossible country as the Banat of Temesvar. Even in our day Chamberlain referred to Czechoslovakia, which he could reach easily by airplane in six hours, as "that far-away country about which we know so little." It seems therefore not altogether useless, but indeed most opportune, to provide, for all those desirous of knowing the characteristics and problems of their allies, a series of books which will give objective, and thus reliable and scientific, information. Professor Robert J. Kerner is to be commended very highly for having initiated this most useful project. His solid advice and his resourcefulness, interpreting and reflecting the generous help of the University of California Press, have a great deal to do with the publication of this book on Belgium.
There is no other general book of recent date on Belgium. A great number of books have been written about Belgium by American authors in recent decades. They describe essentially her scenic attractions or her art, with certain comments on her history and her social structure. Other more scholarly publications include only specialized, restricted subjects. This volume has been written by a number of American and Belgian scholars and writers, with the exception of Mr. Greshoff, whose contribution gives the view of a friendly Dutch neighbor on a sector of Dutch literature, Flemish letters. Through good fortune, at least eight American scholars who know Belgium or the Belgian Congo consented to write chapters for this volume. They have done so often in difficult circumstances and, like the other contributors, they have submitted . . .