The ""man"" of the title is a self-made titan of big business, a man who had a driving and ruthless force that brooked no interference, accepted no ethical nor moral bars, Hank Haislip. This story goes back more to Brooks' first novel, The Big Wheel than to the more recent Pride of Lion, but is still not the novel his wellwishers expect from him. Haislip fails to come through-the cracks in his armor are too obvious to the reader, his coldly calculating ambition convincing where his moments of seeming tenderness are patently false. Possibly it comes down to lack of character a failing of far too many ""heroes"" in today's literature. The story as seen by a son of one of New York's Old Guard, employed by Haislip to holster his social aspirations, revolves around a bitter proxy fight, a subject currently of more interest to the general public than it might have been before the New York Central battle. The climax, in which Haislip shows his feet of clay, while winning his objectives, seems oddly patterned and familiar, as the ageing chairman of the board of the embattled Great Eastern Company collapses while delivering his speech and the proxy fight falls of its own weight, into the wrong camp. One wholly original note is struck at the close, when both young men- war-time buddies and employed by the rival companies- are out of jobs and triumphant in their righteousness, while a trifle shame-faced over the steps by which it was achieved.