I liked this immensely. It is an extraordinary picture of a western Massachusetts small town of 1937-39, in miniature any eastern community with its own brand of local politics, its personal animosities, its group and individual standards and traditions, its social mores -- a sort of fictionized ""Middletown"" revolving around the factors that have been the pivot of our national consciousness these last few years,-- the New Deal, labor problems, fascism, communism, isolationism, intervention and so on. The conversations, while a shade more orientated than most normal conversations end by being, are as definitely in the modern vein as any I have read -- one hears echoes of talk fests everywhere, as the Kittredges and their friends argue back and forth. Hicks does battle with labels (and occasionally falls into the same pit himself) -- and in yound Kittredge one feels that Granville Hicks is evolving his own struggle to come to grips with himself and decide where he can best do battle for the things in which he believes. There is little if any formal plot -- the Kittredges have deserted New York for the town of his birth, and this is the story of their reorientation. The book as a whole serves as a mirror held up to the ways of thought and being -- of democracy at work. One could wish it had come last Spring, for there's an odd sense of anti-climax when the Nazi-Soviet Pact serves as the culminating factor in the emotional upheaval, putting finis -- where there is no end in sight, and where circumstances have already changed our approach, perhaps dulled the edge of our critical faculties towards Communism. Definitely not a book for everyone. The Leftists will find it begs the question; the Rightists will feel it is distinctly ""pink"". Sell it to those who can read it objectively, and enjoy the tart sizing up of the motes in our neighbors' eyes.