He was an old man, a Civil War veteran with one arm, retired from business and from active life. But a best for living burned strong, and when opportunity offered, he responded like a war horse, and took his part once more in the fray. The setting is a typical small American city, and the Grand Hotel techniques reveals its inner being from the social and economic top crust to which John Cantrell belonged, to the oum. One gets industrialists, bankers, professional men, iron workers, bootleggers, fight promoters, clerks, politicans, labor agitators, and their paths cross now and again, knitting the story into a complex whole. Cantrell, old as he is, grows as we read -- and as he experiences the impact of a changing world, from 1907 through the crash of 1. A big canvas brought to vigorous being. A sort of fictionized Middletown. The central plot is of secondary interest, for here is American life in the living.