Alexander has tapped a rich vein of scholarship and research into the building of American frontiers in this story of the creation of West Virginia. A section despised and resented by Tidewater aristocrats, the western part of the Commonwealth stood for utterly different things, industrial riches and potentialities, a code of conduct not recognized in the east, a hard-headed, hard-drinking, hard-shooting type of frontiersman -- and a different political, social and religious bias. The pending break between North and South at the time of Lincoln's election gave the needed impetus for the final split. This is the story of the men behind it, and particularly Curtis Larkin, swollen with wealth and power and ambition, but seeing beyond his fellows into the future. This is the story of the struggle of alien elements, of emotional conflict rooted in industry, of man and woman at disadvantage, -- not a pretty story, but a story that belongs in any crude young country's development -- and that had not been told. Holmes Alexander has told it here as it must have happened; he has taken a big canvas, splashed it with color and characters and action. The result is sometimes confusing, sometimes overdrawn, but the book as a whole is a real contribution to the American picture, though not a book likely to achieve wide popularity.