This may well be regarded by scholars and laymen alike as a definitive book on the American novel. Scholars will particularly value the conscientious bibliography and the rewarding appendices. Mr. Wagenknecht, Professor of English at Boston University, is already known for his companion volume on the English novel, and for many, anthologies and collections of subjects ranging from ghost stories to The Fireside Book of Christmas Carols. Beginning with little known novels of pioneer times this book, at last, cuts the umbilical cord which has tied most previous estimates of the American novel to English forebears. Readers will find their minds made lively by such off-the-beaten track speculations as samplings of the amazingly amoral subject matter of our earliest novels....or the influence of Cooper on the English literary tradition (instead of the other way round)....and the author's cogent comments on the spiritual sickness of current fiction. In this book we see the American novel come of age. A useful book for students and study groups, for reference and for informing opinion. Should be in all Public Libraries, college and High School Libraries.