I loved Hound Dog Man and felt it never got the audience it deserved. Now comes Fred Gipson's second book, with fewer ingredients of sure popularity (or so I felt- in the dog and boy theme of the first book), but again with that contagious love of the outdoors. He has told this time the story of a country-bred man- a Texan -- who stakes everything he has in buying back the old home place, and bringing his motherless boys and homesick old grandfather away from the city where he's never felt he belonged. The house is a ramshackle shell; the furnishing sparse and inadequate; the fields eroded and crop-worn; and nature refuses to cooperate. But he's home again, is Sam Crockett, and the old man's tales grow increasingly picturesque as nostalgia for the days of his youth battles the restrictions of modern fenced-in ranches which curb his hunting and fishing. To city-bred boys there are overwhelming problems of adjustment, particularly to sensitive, frightened Steve. But the family bond was strong, and there was a depth of understanding and sympathy that bridged all gaps -- even the seemingly insuperable economic one, while Sam fought through to a measure of success. Throughout, there is a tenuous thread of romance -- a bitter story of a battle with a chiselling neighbor -- and the intense all-pervading sense of the pull of the country itself. The old grandfather is a grass-roots figure, a humorous, almost folklore character. And how Fred Gipson can write! There isn't the legend in the making quality the other book had- nor the sentimental appeal. But it has a warm humanity and much of poetry too.