Books: The Wide Open Species

BEYOND THE BLACK STUMP (316 pp.)—Nevil Shufe—Morrow ($3.75).

Britons are still apt to regard both Americans and Australians as colonials without much culture. In his eigth novel, British Author Nevil Shute has set up a kind of midget contest between these two "uncultivated" cultures. The contest arises when a bunch of American oilmen arrive in Australia's spinifex country (so named for its tough desert grass). The Australians are astounded by the Americans' ability to set up ice-cream plants in the desert, to work like madmen for oil in a country that probably lacks it and, anyway, needs water more. The Americans, in...

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