A ""protest"" novel that gets away with it, touches all the little sore points in Civil Rights Drives, and comes up smelling mahty lak a magnolia. The author demonstrates that we are indeed all brothers under the skin especially when it comes to human frailty, and he takes many an irreverent poke at white and black liberals, segregationists, militants, middle-of-the-roaders and even the Northern student down to help out the cause. Frail indeed, and certainly mixed up , is hero Robert H. Venable, WRITER IN RESIDENCE at a small college in West Brandon, model southern town whose civil rights record has been held up as example throughout the area. Freedom but not fast enough is the opinion of lovely Alise Hungerford, Vassar graduate and Negro CORE leader ready to shake things up. And Venable, LIBERAL, falls right off his fence-riding position and into the thick of things. Actually he is nudged by Andy Brown, Negro student, friend and man who ""wants to get by on his own"" but what they both view as a lark, something ""for kicks"" turns out to be devastating in its inherent violence and its ridiculously clouded issues. Perhaps if we can laugh as heartily and as healthily as Mr. Hardy does at the human condition in conflict we can overcome. Despite minor flaws, decidedly masculine in flavor, a breath of fresh air from the South Wind.