“We Catholics ma’ be unable to arrestrnthe world’s progress to self-destruction,”rnArnold Lunn wrote to Ronald Knox inrn1949, “but at least we understand whatrnis destroying us. We have at least thernmelancholy satisfaction of not beingrnsimultaneously bewildered and annihilated.”rnMost of these writers were critical ofrnscientism, the application of Darwinismrnto history, philosophy, and the social sciencesrnin particular. They attacked Darwinism’srnextreme claims while defendingrnwhat could be salvaged from itsrngeneral theory in the understanding thatrnscience and Christianity are allies, notrnenemies. They frequently voiced oppositionrnto eugenics, the Hitlerian byproductrnof evolutionary theory, and theyrnuniformly condemned Marx and his intellectualrnoffspring. Here Allitt offers arnreserved acknowledgment that, despiternbeing seen as unfashionably narrowmindedrnand reactionar’ by their critics,rnthese articulate defenders of Catholicismrnturned out to have understoodrnMarxism correctly.rnRelying heavily on secondary sources,rnAllitt is sometimes taken in by liberalrnCatholic historians with an ax to grind.rnKnowing that a scholar’s contributionrnmay be worthy of attention whether orrnnot his work is recognized by his contemporaries,rnAllitt has discovered forgottenrnCatholic converts to make his case.rnYet he neglects neoscholastic cradlernCatholic philosophers and theologiansrnwhose intellectual achievements werernequal to those of their better-known convertrncolleagues. John Courtney Murrayrnand his intellectual nemesis, Msgr.rnJoseph F’enton of the A/nericdn EcclesiasticalrnReview, were cradle Catholics, asrnwere Anton Regis and Vernon Bourke.rnIs it fair to imply, as Allitt does, thatrnWalter Ong, S.J., would not have becomerna gifted and well-respected scholarrnhad he never studied under MarshallrnMcLuhan, a convert? If an oppressivernpapacy is the cause of the Church’srnintellectual backwardness, why so manyrngifted French cradle Catholic writersrnsuch as Etienne Gilson, Paul Claudel,rnLeon Bloy, Charles Peguv, and GeorgernBernanos? What are we to make ofrnscholastic philosopher Yves Simon, whornattended French Catholic universities inrnthe I930’s, then fled the Nazi occupationrnto teach in South Bend at the Universit’rnof Notre Dame?rnDespite its failings. Catholic Convertsrnis the best survey of English and AmericanrnCatholic converts in print. It is reasonablernto argue that, by comparisonrnwith cradle Catholics, converts in Englandrnand America, especially in the lastrncentury, did have a greater influencernamong the laity and a wider hearingrnfrom the non-Catholic world. Thesernconverts engaged a culture hostile tornmorality and religion, in circumstancesrnnot dissimilar to our own. We would dornwell to learn from the successes and failuresrnof these veterans of the earlv culturernwars.rn]ohn M. Vella is the managing editor ofrnModern Age.rnCultured Pearlrnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.rnI, Pearl Hart: A Western Storyrnby jane Candia ColemanrnUnity, Maine: Five Star;rn222 pp., $18.95rnLate in October 1899, in the townrnof Deming, New Mexico Territory,rnthe commander of Scarborough’srnRangers recognized a face familiar tornhim from the pages of Cosmopolitanrnmagazine, one of many publicationsrnthen devoting considerable media attentionrnto the Bandit Queen, a youngishrnwoman from Chicago. In the companyrnof another small-time crook, she hadrnheld up a stagecoach near Globe over inrnArizona the previous May and robbedrnthe passengers of $400. George Scarboroughrntraced Pearl Hart and her companion,rnone Ed Sherwood in whose companyrnshe broke jail in Tucson, to a sordidrnhotel room where, surprising them inrnthe altogether, he arrested the couple.rnPearl’s clothes being out to the Chinesernlaundry, Scarborough returned her tornTucson in men’s dress—the disguise inrnwhich she had robbed the stagecoach asrnwell as, in Miss Coleman’s treatment ofrnthe story, ridden West from Chicago in arnboxcar with a rail hobo named Joe Boot,rnlater her accomplice in the Globe stagernincident.rnThe story of Pearl Hart offers wonderfulrnmaterial for the competent writer,rnand Miss Coleman has turned it to fullrnadvantage in 1, Pearl Hart, a Western SisterrnCarrie of sorts. Stage robbery aside.rnPearl is probably best known for Scarborough’srnlater assessment of her: she was,rnhe said, one of the foulest-mouthed personsrn(not “women”!) he had ever listenedrnto. Yet Pearl’s vocabular)’ was byrnno means restricted to blasphemies andrnfour-letter words. As the daughter of a respectablerncivil engineer, raised in arnCatholic family and educated by nuns atrna Catholic school in Chicago, she was arnhighly literate and —when necessaryarticulaternwoman of no inconsiderablernresources, as well as of cunning.rnWhile the “memoirs” on which thernnovel is based are scanty to the point ofrnnonexistence, Coleman has carefully researchedrnwhat is known, and knowable,rnof her subject’s life. Pearl Hart, who diedrnin 1957 in her middle 80’s, was notoriouslyrnreticent about her history; peoplernacquainted with her in the years followingrnher second marriage to a mining engineer,rnwhen the couple was living firstrnin Cananea, Mexico, and later in Arizona,rnrecalled a quiet woman rockingrnsilently on her front porch while shernsmoked cigarettes. Her descendants,rnthough agreeing to be interviewed byrnMiss Coleman, requested that she employrna pseudonym in place of her secondrnhusband’s family name. No one knowsrnhow Pearl escaped from the Yuma Penitentiar)’rnin Arizona Territory, where shernserved time as the prison’s first womanrnprisoner, and so the author has felt compelledrnto offer a fictional scenario of herrnown devising.rnI, Pearl Hart is to some extent the storyrnof a legend rather than of an historicalrnfigure, and yet the legend, in Miss Coleman’srnhands, is as much or more a novelisticrncreation as it is an historical one, arnperiod piece. Yet the period is substantiallyrnrecreated, and so is the place. Partlyrnbecause Arizona, in its natural as opposedrnto its human aspect, has notrnchanged that much in the last century,rnand partly because Miss Coleman (anrnEasterner from Pennsylvania, now residentrnin the lovely southeastern cornerrnof the Grand Canyon State) has deeprnsympathy and an observing eye for thernSouthwestern landscape, the setting ofrnher book is made present for the reader.rnPearl Hart came West from Chicagornin flight from her first husband, FrankrnHart, a professional gambler and compulsivernwife-beater. Today the Old Westrnis admired by conservative-minded peoplernappreciative of a time and place inrnwhich men were men and women werern40/CHRONICLESrnrnrn