If this were the final panel of the Jules Romains Men of Good Will, it would be heralded as a fitting finale of a vast, panoramic picture of France over a half century. It definitely has the flavor, the rhythm of that still unfinished work. Written by a Russian (who seems to have lived through much of which he writes) it has the immediacy of a newsreel sound track. The period covered is from the success of the Popular Front on to the Armistice. He cross-sections the Paris of politicians, playing first on one side, then the other, opportunists all. The Paris of the slums, of the Latin Quarter, of the demi-mondaines, of the Communist cells. Unsavory, much of it, very ""Latin"" in its morals and lack of them, it shows a decadent France betrayed by its leaders, its panderers. As a photographic record -- a phonographic record -- it has value and will take its place. As a novel for the general reader it is less successful. Too many characters to hold the thread of interest; too vast a canvas. And French politics as a subject is notoriously not one to hold the American reading public's interest -- even when one senses resemblances, out of drawing, to our own death dance building up to war.