Gerald Stanley Lee.

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regular fountain of energy. His thoughts bubble up from him
almost before your eyes. You feel that he can't keep pace with
them on the page. . . . Disquisitions on Christ, on Pier-
pont Morgan, on Tom Mann, on Woodrow Wilson, on Allen
Upward, on Rockefeller, on Carnegie, and on a great many
other people, are jammed in amongst heaps of miscellaneous
opinions, assertions, and incomprehensible doctrines. It is all
the wildest cataclysm — and yet it has a certain vitality and
fascination. . . .

So with this final note of qualified approval we can leave the
astonishing author of "Crowds." — The Bookman (London).

I had three copies of Inspired Millionaires presented to me by
enthusiasts who implored me to write up Mr. Lee and add to
my humble reputation, and the consequence is I have not yet

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read Inspired Millionaires and feel irritable when I hear Mr.
Stanley Lee's name mentioned. This week Messrs. Methuen
send me a new book of Mr. Lee's, called " Crowds," with a fairly
long typewritten letter.

There may be thousands of readers ready to acclaim Mr. Lee
as " the philosopher, the poet and the prophet of the man in the
street," but I have read "Crowds" with what judgment I
possess held strictly in suspense, and I don't like it. . . .
— Glasgow News,

. . . It's like a great, clumsy, violent hand trying to tear
out before us the vital secrets of life. An enthusiast wrote this
book, and it needs an enthusiast to understand it. . . .
— The Bookman (London).

And now we can only suggest that each and every reader of
this book must decide for himself whether or not he likes it.
- — Chautavquan (Chautaqua, N. Y.).

If Mr. Lee had never written or never writes another Une, the
immense gregariousness, the pure Christian brotherhood
spirit of "Crowds" would make him famous. To explain his
book is impossible. You can say things of it and of him, and
they are true, yet only partly and inefficiently so. To under-
stand " Crowds" you must read it. — Philadelphia Item.

A man by the name of Gerald Stanley Lee has written a book
which he calls "Crowds." ...

I am not sure that this mass of words really gets anywhere,
that is, to any definite place, but on every page there loom ques-
tions from which you cannot escape — questions that stir your
heart, your imagination or your sense of humor, what matter
which — and you find yourself sitting dreamily beneath your
droplight, caught in the maze, asking, with the author, *^Where
am I going?"

"Where do I think I want to go, and why?"

Some way he has caught the crowd spirit. He marshals his
people and bids you look, and directly you are moving with lead-
en feet among the weary workers, your spirit is caught in faces.

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old, young, pallid, glad and hopeful, listening to the shuffling
maelstrom of the crowds. — Denver (Col.) Times,

Are you one of the five million men — Americans of the Ger-
ald Stanley Lee type — who helped Gerald Stanley Lee write
"Crowds" (Doubleday, Page).?

If so, read "Crowds," see yourself in it and be sure to give
Mr. Lee the credit. If not, read this book written between five
million men under the name of one of them and be a better man
for it.

"I will break through to the five million men," declares Mr.
Lee. "I will make the five million men look at me until they
recognize themselves." In case they fail in this respect Mr.
Lee will have a brass band and the Boston Symphony Orchestra
go through New York and a thousand cities with instruments
playing ''Have You Read/ CROWpS'?'' — "Crowds," the book
that is full to overflowing with ideas such as the following:
. . . — New York Evening Sun.

. . . People say, "That's just what I've thought, but I
couldn't say it!" Mr. Lee says it. . . . — Detroit Free

Mr. Lee has seen Business with the eye of imagination.

Perhaps it takes a man who lives on a mountain, and goes to
London for his excursions, to do this. He has a fresh vision
and a habit of thinking to stand him in good stead. . . .

Well, one must concede Mr. Lee one thing. He knows the
right way to approach the business man: he writes prose-poetry
for him, for he knows that the typical business man is at
heart a kind of minor poet. — Floyd Dell in Chicago Evening

"Crowds" defies classification; it isn't so much this or that
literary form as a man talking, a man who would be commonly
described as an idealist, yet a man with that best sort of prac-
ticality: an insight into life that recognizes its true values and
discovers its eternal facts beneath the modern masks. — The

. . . In writing to a friend of mine, the other day, I

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frankly admitted that I had gotten enough inspiration out of the
reading of "Crowds" to keep me going from now until the end
of my days.

That's a lot to say about any book that has come along during
the last 2000 years, but you'll understand why I said it after
you have read "Crowds." It is not merely a book — it is a
force that works in a marvellous way. . . . — A. C. G.
Hammesfahr in Collier's Weekly,

Dr. Charles F. Aked told an immense audience of us the other
day that writers are successful mainly because they dare to write
what we think and don't dare.

Gerald Stanley Lee is an example. . . . — Oakland In-

. . . And if you are in the habit of marking your books,
you will mark every page of "Crowds". . . . — Public
Opinion'' (England).

One fine day in early June a Chicago business man named
James Howard Kehler happened into McClurg's to buy some-
thing to read. He went away with "Crowds," Gerald Stan-
ley Lee's new book.

Two days afterward full page advertisements of "Crowds"
appeared in the Chicago newspapers. They were written and
paid for, not by Doubleday, Page & Co., Mr. Lee's publishers,
but by Mr. James Howard Kehler. One of the things Mr.
Lee's admirer said was this :

" I have waited twenty years for somebody to write this book,
meanwhile groping for it, hoping for it, doing my best to func-
tion without it, trying to live up to a book not yet written."

Mr. Kehler is evidently the kind of person who when he has
read a book that he likes wants every one else to experience his
pleasure. In this case his enthusiasm was deep enough to
strike his pocket nerve, suflScient proof of its sincerity.

The third day after Mr. Kehler's first advertisement of
* Crowds" appeared the publishers wired him to hold oflf and
give them a chance to catch up — their presses were going all
the time on **Crowds," that they were being avalanched with
orders, and that the third edition wouldn't be ready for several
days. ... — New York Morning Telegraph,

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From announcement in Publishers' Weekly

*^ Crowds'' was the best-selling book of non-fiction sold between
the first of September and the first of October in





It ranked second in popularity among the reading public of



And fourth best in


" Crowds " hcL8 now been Americans best-selling book of non-fiction for more than
six months.

From a Letter:

Department of English, The University of Minnesota

October 5.

My Dear Lee: "Crowds" is about the most encouraging
spectacle that has come to my notice for years. Here is a book
that I would no more expect to be popidar than I would Car-
lyle's "Sartor Resartus/' and, by Gosh! it sells! It is proof
positive that humans hunger for the higher, a truth I have
always believed and tried to get into my poetry; though, of
course, being poetry, only a person here and there knows it.

The book came to me just as I was leaving for the summer,
and I didn't take it with me; too full up with other books neces-
sary for a six weeks' lecture trip. So now let me thank you for
it, and say I'm reading it, and that I recognize it as one of the
most truly original pieces of literary work of the time, and a
very noble performance indeed. Any one who fails to see that
is hopelessly dedicated to mediocre stuflf and is out of the run-
ning. It is literature in form, and a mighty interesting thing
because of the unusualness of the form. Also, it is literature be-
cause it says a vastly true and important thing, and says it
individually. You have dived down to a central fact of mod-

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ern life, fetched it up, held it high for folks to see, turned it
every side around, and given us self-respect in the seeing. Gee,
but that's worth doing! And right on top of it comes the
miracle of the way it sells. It makes me dizzy in its implication of
the good in people. How in the world they found it out, beats
me. But that they did, I'm deeply glad; not for your sake
alone (though to sit and hear that money come in, clinkity-
clink, must be a new and intoxicating kind of music) but for
everybody's sake. I abase myself before you, I, one who sell
by ones and twos; I saalam, remove my shoes, whisper hoarse
congratulations, back off and look at you, and say Hush! to
those who go by as if nothing were in front of them. For, sir,
you have broken the record, and made McCutcheon and Cham-
bers look like two spots. God bless you, you have done us all
good! Richard Burton.

There are 561 pages in this book, and the whole is a little more
than the author's circumlocutory affirmation of the author's con-
viction that people ought to be good to one another! — Minne-
apolis Journal.

No fear of being ridiculous, or usual, or hackneyed withholds
him from saying what he wishes to say. — Chicago Tribune.

Brotherhood, which is just as good business as it is morals,
is Lee's keynote, and his treatment of the idea is so frank and
fine, so cogent and appealing, that it all seems as simple as A
B C. In short, he has got hold of a great big idea that lies right
under our nose, which is why we didn't see it; and presented the
idea in an original, striking way that brings it home, and will
make it unforgettable. . . .

. . . The more you think about it, the more you compre-
hend it as a succinct, happy statement of deep truth. . . .

. . . The author calls it "a book for the individual,"
and he is right. It is for you and me, and therefore for every-
body. A stimulating, brilUant, profound deliverance, a gen-
uine piece of literature. — The Bellman.

To quote Mr. Lee's striking passages would be to reproduce
the book. Nearly all are striking, and sometimes they strike
so hard as to hurt. — San Francisco Argonaut.

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The author of "Inspired Millionaires" has a claim on our
attention. Therefore we have read his present production of
600 pages, unless we have inadvertently missed a page occa-
sionally; there is such a platitudinous sameness that we may
have unintentionally done so. No one will dissent from Mr.
Lee's copybook maxims, unless provoked to do so by their
reiteration, but with his estimates of men and things we are
certainly at variance. ... — The Athenceum,

. . . The remarkable chapter entitled "The Machine
Trainers" ... is strongly reminiscent of the most notable
chapters in Samuel Butler's "Erewhon," and the style has more
than a flavour of the Carlylean. Lee is a thinker of uncommon
imagination. . . . — The Globe (London).

. . . The reader may judge of Mr. Lee from these ex-
tracts. He is breezy, cheerful, persuasive, colloquial, full of
American shrewdness and humour, and if now and again he is
stirred to some sharp thrust or vivid invective, it seems to es-
cape him unawares, and in a twinkUng he is back on his old
track, preaching serenity, hope, and belief in human nature.
To get the vision down to earth is often a desperate matter,
and we see him struggling valiantly with ideas that come and go,
with digressions and excursions that as often as not lead nowhere
and will not be subdued to any consecutive scheme. He comes
to London, and all manner of ideas are suggested to him by the
Dock Strike and the Railway Strike, the man in the street, and
the newspapers, and the House of Commons. He goes back to
America, and another set of ideas rush in upon him from Wash-
ington and New York, and the new President and Mr. Carnegie
and Mr. Rockefeller. Everything goes down as it comes, in a
stream of lively, intimate comment which is never dull and is
often brilliant. Result, a book full of life and human nature,
in which the moral is everywhere and nowhere, and which
is so lively and original that it compels you to read on, even
when the argument escapes you. . . . — Westminster Gazette
(London) .

An altogether wonderful book, a sort of day of judgment for
our modem world, in which its whole inner and outer is weighed
down to the last ounce. — Christian World (London).

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Putting the world to rights is a very old dream.

It is a dream that comes to all of us at some time or other —
mostly in flamboyant youth, sometimes in philosophic old age;
rarely, if ever, in busy, prosaic middle life.

At back of the purpose of "Crowds," a book just published
which will set the world thinking and talking, is the same old
dream — a beautiful, illusive dream as it always seems in the
end, but none the less a dream that is ever worth dream-
ing. ...

. . . In short, this wonderful book, which says hopeful
things and scathing things fearlessly, tells you how to save
the world. . . .

. . . Face it yourself — where are you going? — and then
you begin to realize what after all Gerald Stanley Lee is driving
at in "Crowds." ... — Daily Sketch.

This book is full of American hustle. It has the sign and
note and character of American civilization. Six hundred
pages of lively, epigrammatic sayings, comments, and sugges-
tions of one sort or another.

The vigorous individuality of the author is refreshing. He is
as cocksure of everything as most folk are of anything. He is
announced as the poet and philosopher and interpreter of
crowds, and makes a dazzling attempt to fulfil this r6le. —
Daily Herald (London).

There are people in the United States who regard Mr. Stanley
Lee as the modem incarnation of the spirit of Whitman. The
present writer believes he is not the only Englishman whose
opinion of Whitman has been modified by a visit to America.
One had formerly regarded him as unique, or at least as a vast
imique expression of the national spirit in its noblest form.
One's admiration for him remains, but in the actual modem
America one has found hundreds of Uttle Whitmans, and by
going farther would have found millions. Everywhere one
encountered commonplace embodiments of that audacious
spirit, men who talked in large, vague terms about fellowship,
individualism, national self-consciousness, and the genial love
of your neighbour — men who dwelt at length on tiie subject
of teeming cities, tilled fields, and pioneers of progress, wnile
they toyed with their coflfee-cups or their cigars. They were
not all Walt Whitmans, but in showing the common origin of

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the poet's sentiments they made one aware that he, too, is not
lacking in that braggadocio which is an Amierican quality. The
same large assertiveness appears in any general conversation.
It is demanded from preachers and orators. No man could
hope to be elected President unless he could administer enor-
mous doses of this violent and windy rhetoric.

Mr. Gerald Stanley Lee, as the publishers inform us, has
been called "the most remarkable American writer since Walt
Whitman." There have been better American books, but per-
haps none more remarkable. A man could hardly beUeve it
possible that this book could have been really popular who had
not heard Mr. Roosevelt make popular speeches to vast audi-
ences. But one is bound to admire Mr. Lee's writing for the
same reason that one admires Mr. Roosevelt's oratory — for
the extraordinary physical vitality that it betrays. For six
hundred pages Mr. Lee maintains the same loud, strident tone,
shouting about himself and his ideas and his emotions and his
hopes for his expectant fellow-creatures, without faltering,
without a sign of fatigue. He has mastered the easy Whit-
manesque rhythm. His thundering sentences are alternately
long and short, rolling forth with Delphic confidence. He em-
braces all mankind and all human energy with unfailing mag-
nanimity. He beUeves in the heroic individual. He believes
in the crowd. Whitman, Carlyle, and Mr. Chesterton have
together formed his style and bolstered him up in his assertive
optimism. . . .

. . . But what is really interesting about his book is not
the matter, but the manner. This sort of thing "goes down,"
we are assured, with the American crowd. This sort of egoistic,
fantastic, assertive tub-thumping receives attention; it creates
upon the jaded intelligence the violent shock necessary to
awake it from intellectual fatigue. The American newspapers
— and, indeed, we have such newspapers in England — make
the same sort of appeal by dint of repeated shocks upon both
the eye and the mind. Theodore Roosevelt has this knack of
speech in his popular oratory. Mr. Taft, who had the support
of many miUionaires, was handicapped by not possessing this
gift of rhetoric. In a writer who has absorbed Whitman,
Nietzsche, and Mr. Chesterton it is mingled with the dithy-
rambic note observable in the following: . . .

Mr. Lee has not misunderstood his pubUc. His own success
is evidence that he has gauged it rightly. The language of the

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American newspapers, the speeches of Mr. Roosevelt, support
his view. The question is: what about that portion of the
pubhc which can only be efiFectively addressed in this way.?
We in England cannot aflFord to throw stones, but if we are to
reckon with American sentiment it is worth while to know what
sort of problem confronts American educationists. Mr. Lee's
book should help us. — The New Statesman (London).

Mr. Lee reminds us of Mr. Robert Blatchford. He is not so
direct. He is not so well informed. He deals in theories where
Mr. Blatchford dealt either with facts or what might very well
pass for facts. He is not a socialist, nor is he quite so definite
as Mr. Blatchford concerning the precise specific which he is
recommending for the cure of the world. But he has the same
self-confidence, the same bold windiness of rhetoric, the same
habit of button-holing the universe and taking it into his con-
fidence. . . .

. . . Mr. Lee has based himself mainly upon Carlyle and
Walt Whitman, but he has introduced into the mixture a strong
infusion of Nietzsche, Mr. Chesterton, and the American mob-
orator. — The English Review.

Mr. Gerald Stanley Lee has shot his bolt. All that has passed
in the two years since "Inspired Millionaires*' was published has
left him more enthusiastic and more incoherent than he was
before. Moreover, this unresting enthusiasm for machines,
and for the men who will master them, this ideal of continual
production, continual increase, everlasting work, produces at
last a feeling of revulsion. Mr. Gerald Stanley Lee has no
repose; he says a thing again and again, not like Nietzsche's
Wagner, until we believe it, but until the lines from one of Mr.
Jack C. Squire's parodies come ringing into our memory:

Brushing wide heaven with the stridence of her rustling wings.
Enacting once again the old, old tragedy with her pitiless wings, . . .
Proclaiming, exultant, triumphant, with steely clarion, the victory of her

titanic wings.
The whole air is filled with the clamour of innumerable wings.

At last, the impression produced by these 594 pages of shout-
ing exultation is not the impression of a man; but, if I may vary
one of Mr. Squire's best mixed metaphors, "it is engines, en-
gines, all the way, but not a drop to drink." — The New Age,

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Gerald Stanley Lee, whether seen and heard in the flesh or
through his writings, is a remarkable man. A keen observer of
men and manners, "scenting the world, looking it full in face,"
like Browning's "man of mark," witty, eloquent, and epi-
grammatic, he may be depended upon to be interesting, and to
be surprising and brilliant in what he has to say. He speaks
with an American accent: he writes with the same accent, and
also an American business-like cast of thought which gives a
marvellous directness and reaUty even to his most dreamy and
ideaUstic passages. He is a lever of mankind, an ardent be-
liever in this present worid, and a brave man not in the least
afraid to speak his mind. — Leicester Pioneer.

. . . We all feel the better for Mr. Lee's boisterous greet-
ing, and his book will supply us with enough homely epigrams
to furnish forth a hundred evening papers till Mr. Lee writes
another book. No doubt, however, he has had time to write
another while we have been reading this. — Englishwoman,

. . . In the matter of style there is American and Ameri-
can, just as there is English and English, and Mr. Lee's bears
about the same relation to Whitman's as the style of a ha'-
penny paper does to that of Milton. . . . The idea which
remains most clearly in the reader's mind after perusing Mr.
Lee's pages is that Mr. Lee's most distinct belief is that he is the
original author and patentee of what was a fairly well-known
proverb before Mr. Lee was born. "Honesty is the best
policy." ... — Sunday Times and Sunday Special.

Mr. Lee has been likened to Walt Whitman, and with much
reason. He has the same passionate belief in democracy, the
same enthusiasm for his native land, and, in some measure, the
same gift of torrential language. . . .

. . . Six hundred pages of startling paradox, of un-
conventional views on all possible subjects, of dogmatic and
entirely unproved and unprovable statements, of forceful but
often slangy and colloquial English, make a strong claim on the
patience and forbearance of the reader. But it is worth the
eflFort. It is not given to many writers to pound the truth into
his hearers as this strong and courageous author never hesitates
to do.

. . . Humour, however, is not lacking, and is of the dry

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American school which appeals to all divisions of the great
Anglo-Saxon family. . . .

. . . It is clear that Mr. Lee has an underlying deep sense
of the poetry of human existence, and this adds a vivid touch
to his pictures of men and things. — Yorkshire Observer

Here is a book that might have been good, almost great, had
the author cultivated self-restraint and lucidity in writing. As
it is, the " Crowds" of words that tumble over each other do not
often reveal themselves to those who attempt to read with a
view to dig out the meaning. — Investor's Review.

. . . Clearly we must take this writer seriously, but we
must not take him heavily or prosaically. ... — West-
minster Gazette.

"Crowds" is more than a book; it is a prophecy and a policy;
and it includes as part of its vision and its purpose the protection
of genius from the policy of crucifixion.

Gerald Stanley Lee is the prophet of the plutocracy, as
Carlyle was the prophet of the gentry. Carlyle's appeal and
warning to the ruling class of his day was summed up in the
sentence: "The organisation of labour is the universal, vital
problem of the world." Mr. Lee's more genial appeal to the
millionaires adds something to that text. For he treats the
organisation of industry as a high art, the new art of our new
age, and he invites the millionaire to take himself seriously and
nobly as an artist, that is to say, as a genius, of the same race
and calling as the inventor, the poet, and the prophet.

Carlyle's prophecy fell on deaf ears. The squires, as he bit-
terly observed, were too busy in preserving their game to think
of preserving men; and as a consequence they failed to preserve
themselves. Their reign is over. The old English aristocracy,
the aristocracy of birth and breeding, is sinking into the servile
class. The Norman peeress earns her living as the chaperon
of the Jewish financier's wife and daughters. Eton and Oxford
are turning out private secretaries and travelling companions
for the graduates of Wall Street. . . .

Online LibraryGerald Stanley LeeCrowds: a moving-picture of democracy → online text (page 43 of 44)