With Liberia as an action front today, there might be more interest in this background book than that backward country would otherwise provide. An engineer who knows it at first hand tells the story of what is still virtually a slave state. The suppression of free thought and action, corrupt law, blackbirding, and American ""big business"" have combined to keep the natives poor and illiterate. Interwoven with socio-political pictures are chapters on various peoples, plantation workers, craftsmen, sects and their rituals, and various individuals. Not a pretty picture this, of a so-called Republic.