The stimulating background of this excellent story makes this exceptionally good, fresh reference material for schools and libraries, as well as good reading. In Concord of the 1830's, Emerson, the Thoreaus and their strange friends, accepted into their circle, one Reuben Downs, alias Dave Gallup. Reuben loved horses and wanted to be a stage-coach driver. But the times pointed to railroads. When Jacob, the boy's Father, through over-generosity and under-caution, was put into debtor's prison, the burden of earning a living for the family and getting his father out of jail, fell on Reuben. A fight with the vicious jailor put Reuben in jeopardy. Flight to Concord and an assumed name was a hard beginning. But life for a responsible, alert, young man was not all hard work, for friendship with the Thoreaus, a place in the community so filled with new ideas made bright spots. The battle between stage-coach and railroads, a bit of romance, all bring a vitality to this book which is exceptional.