A sprawling family novel laid in Chicago which is divided into three parts- 1905, 1920 and 1950. It follows the ferocious history of the fabulous Konrad family, governed in Prussian fashion by father Adolph. German born, Adolph came to America with nothing, and gradually built his business- a meat packing business- into a giant economic success. Czar- like, Adolph rules over his family and Germanic house (named ""Sans Souci"" after the Kaiser's Potsdam palace) and his business. One of his sons, Rupert, rebels against his tyranny and marries Helen, the daughter of a Cambridge professor and a frustrated pianist. Rupert becomes a diplomat- and Helen, bored, drinks. Francey, another son, frail, literary, falls in love with Helen. Horror-stricken by the brutality of meat packing, he runs away to California and tries to work on his Poem- ""Stock Yards Ballad"". Later, Francey's son squares himself and his family with the 20th century... A fair picture of labor and industry in pre-union days, of the inside workings of this industry, this- as novel- is readable- patterned- and if movie bound, a likely vehicle for Edward G. Robinson.