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In diary form, this is the filibuster of a family man, middle-aged, middle-of-the-road, middle-western Jefferson Selleck, which in its verbatim record of a life circumscribed by the limitations and class-angled cliches of his background reflects the attitudes of an average American with something of the accuracy and anonymity of Babbitt. Bedridden with a coronary occlusion in his middle fifties, Jeff- with time on his hands and a certain uneasiness of mind- looks back on the decades of the first war and prohibition and the depression and the New Deal; his early love for Helen, and his marriage to Gertrude- a step upwards in background and breeding; the start of his own business and his interest in politics- Republican; the paternal gratification in Tinker, his daughter, and the disappointment in his son who became an artist; the comfortable country club life and the freedom from want, but not always from fear, as the uncertainty of the times shadowed his last years; etc. etc. In plain prose, this is a dossier animated by recognizability, by fallibility, and by sincerity, which achieves a portrait of an unremarkable but remarkably nice guy. Book of the Month Club co-selection for February with Mittee, this will be off to a start.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1951
Publisher: Little, Brown