In a sequel to The Tempering (1983) that can stand alone, friends Hank Kerner and Bazyli Radichevych (alias ""Billy Radish"") are growing up in the steel town of Duquesne, Pennsylvania (here called ""Canaan""), during WW I. Each chapter explores a theme--the rigors of work in the mills (beginning as early as 14); the mix of immigrant cultures; Hank's bewilderment and jealousy as Billy (two years older) begins to move into adulthood; the intense emotions engendered by the war; Billy's death in the 1918 influenza epidemic; Hank's discovery of his life's ambition. Always, the dirt, noise, and danger of the mills are a constant, dominating presence. Not for the squeamish (scenes of a gruesome mill accident and a home birth) but first-rate historical fiction. B&w period photos.