Books: Abbe

MY NEW WORLD—Ernest Dimnet— Simon & Schuster ($2.50).

One sunny June morning in 1919, an energetic, 52-year-old French abbe named Ernest Dimnet arrived in Manhattan to raise funds for the War-devastated Lille University. The abbe had had little formal preparation for his task. He had grown up in a provincial village in the north of France, studied at the University of Lille, written a religious volume that was placed on the Index, a biography of the Bronte sisters that won him a small but solid transatlantic reputation.

In Manhattan his fund-raising began with a series...

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