THIN MEN OF HADDAM by C. W. Smith

THIN MEN OF HADDAM

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This unpropitious title inaptly sets the tone for this not very credible moral drama of Mendez, a chicano who -- due to a most fortuitous set of circumstances -- has been brought up by white folk, sent to college (he drops out over a doctrinaire squabble with his fellowship sponsors), and is now foreman and possible future partner of his childhood ranch. Meanwhile cousin Manuelo, with six starving children, practically illiterate, unable to get work, goes not-so-slowly crazy -- finally to the point of big trouble with the law in the form of a vigilante posse that wants to kill him. The question (of whether Mendez helps him, or how, and how all this relates to Mendez' rather intellectual dream of a utopian chicano commune) is solved conveniently but unbelievably as Mendez shoots Manuelo while attempting to hold him for the cops. Despite the dramatics of the ending, this is a sympathetic and fairly subtle study of the intellectual who straddles the line between revolution and co-option (by virtue of his cleverness) into the ""ruling class"" -- a self-pitying, guilt-ridden guy with good instincts and faint heart whose admiration for the violent solution of the uneducated stems as much from a childish machismo as from a realistic appraisal of the dynamics of the world.

Pub Date: Dec. 31st, 1973
Publisher: Grossman