[Editor: This review of The Land of Whereisit (1919) was published in The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 6 November 1919.]
H. E. Boote, of the Sydney Worker, is fond of epigram and parable — more fond of them than of the hard stinging logic that makes for victorious argument. In The Land of Whereisit (The Judd Publishing Co., Sydney) he tells a cycle of tales in his familiar manner with a view to putting the world right.
Assuming the rôle of fool he writes as one setting forth a nursery tale; and as all the ground is old and all the ideas have been worked before until they have become very print-worn, the result is a rather dull little volume. God, the humorous, who made Whereisit as a joke laughs rather tediously from fable to fable; and there is hardly a flash of insight or a touch of humor to relieve the narrative.
It is just possible that, if there had been no picturesque writing in the past around the subject of socialism these little tales might have awakened some interest; but the day is long past when the mere statement of social evils with a vague reference to revolution as the cure can satisfy any reader.
The crucified Rebel in the tales dies because he pointed out to the people that they were being cheated; it is notable that the crucified Christ who gives point to the Rebel’s death did very little denunciation in comparison with the extent of His constructive ethical policy.
Boote offers nothing in the way of reconstruction except vague generalities; and as these have been offered ten thousand times before, the reader is no further forward.
The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 6 November 1919, p. 24 (columns 1-2)
The details of the book under review are: H. E. Boote, The Land of Wherisit: A Cycle of Tales that Begins at the End and Ends at the Beginning; Told by a Graduate of All Fools’ College for the Entertainment of His Kind, Sydney: The Judd Publishing Co., 1919
H. E. Boote = Henry Ernest Boote (1865-1949), Labor journalist, editor, and author; he was born in Liverpool (England) in 1865, and died in Rose Bay (Sydney, NSW) in 1949
See: 1) Frank Farrell, “Boote, Henry Ernest (1865–1949)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Henry Ernest Boote”, Wikipedia
[Editor: The word “Worker” (referring to a periodical) has been put in italics, to distinguish it from the rest of the text.]
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]