An imaginary conversation between Confucius, Lincoln, Lenin, a British airman and a soldier in which they demand that humanity in the present crisis be given a nobler purpose and more certain aim. Eric Robert Russell Linklater (1899-1974) was a Scottish writer, known for more than 20 novels, as well as short stories, travel writing and autobiography, and military history. He was born in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, but was educated in Aberdeen. He was brought up principally in Orkney, and identified strongly with the islands. He was initially a medical student and then went into journalism, becoming a full time writer in the 1930s.