Books: The Bad Earth

Journey To a War—W. H. Auden & Christopher Isherwood—Random House ($3).

Last year W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood, talenty, touted young English poets and amateur leftists, went to China to see what all the shooting was about. First peep at Canton's muddy West River reminded the boys of the Severn. Next peep showed them the crews of U.S. and British gunboats playing football ("hairy, meat-pink men with powerful buttocks").

The young correspondents handed their visiting cards (bearing the Chinese version of their names: Au Dung and Y Hsiao Wu) to U.S. missionaries...

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