LEON BLUM - FROM POET TO PREMIER By RICHARD L. STOKES PREFACE I MONO the paradoxes thronging the career of Leon Blum, rhymer, jurist and former millionaire, who became on June 4, 19363 the first Socialist and the first Hebraic Premier of France, not the least is a singularity which startled the author on his arrival last summer in Paris, with a commission to undertake a series of articles for the St Louis PostDispatch. Concerning this personage, one of the most discussed in the world, the entire Bibliothque Nationale failed to yield more than half a dozen pages of biographical material. The official bookshop of the Socialist Party, in the Rue Victor Mass, was unable to produce so much as a paragraph on the life of its chieftain. Principles count I was admonished, not men. Nevertheless, in view of the Prime Ministers struggle to prevent France from dropping into either of the two bigotries, Le deux mystiques of Communism and Fascism, it became clear that the future of democracy in Europe is to no small degree bound up with the character and intelligence of this one statesman The design of attempting the present narrative rose from the curious discrepancy between his preeminent importance and the wellnigh total lack of available information concerning his personality and the events of his career. Since I was unable to gain access to his private papers., this cannot pretend to be a definite work. Its hope is to function as a stopgap till a standard account is written either by the Premier himself or some member of his intimate circle. To the best of my knowledge and belief, it is the first fulllength biography of Leon Blum to be essayed in any language. It contains a quantity of data which I have not seen elsewhere in print, corrects a number of current errors and collates for the first time most of the references to the subject which occur in dozens of scattered magazines and books In justice to M. Blum, the confession must be made that my recital of his career is wholly unauthorized Perhaps it should be added that the writer is not a Socialist.