A book that marks a distinct advance over his first novel, Grand Crossing, in the maturity of portrayal of a cross section of American life. The smell of smoke, the noise of freight cars, the crunch of men walking on cinders permeates this drama of the workers in a great railroad system fastened, mollusk-like, on the giant city of Chicago. The romance revolves around a railroad worker, a radical, and his wife, who is a railroader's daughter, and the love story carries the action through upheavals and emotional disturbances to the ""right side of the tracks"". You see the race question through the eyes of the Negro Pledger; you see the problems of carmen, coach cleaners, company dicks, union organizers, Communists -- a world of new and formidable forces seen through a group of starkly drawn characters. Not always pleasant reading, this answers in human terms many of the questions as to the whys and hows of strikes, race riots, subversive activities. Laymen interested in the facts behind the headlines; railroad men, social workers- these provide the market.