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Not as sensational, perhaps, as its predecessors, Oh Promised Land, Tap Roots and By Valour and Arms, but in some ways the best of the series, of which this is the last. The Dabneys are defending to the bitter end their role as lords of the manor in Lebanon Valley, Mississippi (that tiny segment of the South that stood out against the Confederacy). Their struggle now is with the infringing of their rights by Yankee industry, the Peninsula Company bringing in their machine age mill, demanding Dabney lumber stands for railroad right of way. It is a battle between honesty and double dealing (perhaps drawn in terms too sharply black and white) -- but a battle which wins again one's affection for the Dabneys, three generations, from the senile old grandmother, with her flashes of prescience, through Bruce, yielding the reins to his nephew and son, Sans and Mingo. To Sans went the right to control the disputed forest lands and right of way; to Mingo, the lumber mill and The Store. The community grand old characters are all here,- the family lawyer, the store keeper, the freed slave, friend of all. Injected into the picture are outlanders- Yankees, Cuban revolutionaries, for this is the '90's. Love and hate, passion and violence, ambition and revenge- all sway the fortunes of the Dabneys. They face ruin when the Yankee empire buys up the scalawags, the dregs of politics and the law- and right is defeated at the polls. They face ruin when the machine age shows how lumber can be handled without manpower or oxen. They face ruin when the company store cuts into the business of the Dabney store. But when salvation is offered by Alexander Keith, who years before had led their rebellion, who had since found fame and fortune with Morna Dabney in Chicago, they refused to take it at his price and he determined to find another way. But Aven Dabney, who hated him, killed him first-and at the end it was Morna who took control, who promised the Dabneys a chance for their sort of justice, their sort of freedom. And Sans united his fate with Ruth from the North, in Lebanon Valley; and Mingo went away, to join the beautiful Cuban who had won his heart. It is a story of the post-bellum, post carpetbagger South, at that point where groundwork was laid for the Huey Longs and the Talmadges of our time, for racism, for the canker at the heart. A convincing story, lusty, virile, well told.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1949
Publisher: Dial