Kirkus Star


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In spite of occasional passages in which Mr. Priestley succumbs to the temptation of the soapbox, in spite of repetition and laboring the point at times, this industrial novel has the vitality of the old Priestley of The Good Companions. This is a story cross sectioning the workings of a great airplane factory in the Midlands -- it is a huge panorama, colored by Priestley's own nearness to the shifting social pattern of modern England, his awareness of its roots, its ramifications. He tells his story through the stories of the little people and the big in a factory where the period of boredom during the Rommel triumph was reflected in slipping production figures. He makes one know the hidden and the open lives, the little happinesses and unhappinesses and conflicts and motives that find reflection and repercussion in the industrial day. One might say that the struggle between Elrick, whose abilities were clouded by his violence and lack of control, and Blandford, who was a sort of sawdust fascist, is the central story; but there are also the lesser stories of kindly human souls like Sister Foley and Nellie Ditton and Gwen Ockley and Sammy Hamp and Fred Scalby. There are the self-made people in the vanguard of England's new world, men and women in the molding, Cleeton, Ogmore and such. There is a bit of romance when haughty Freda yields to the class-conscious young engineer. But the plant itself is the real focus of the novel, welding the people and their stories into a convincing whole.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1943
Publisher: Harper