This acrid novel is not rich in characterization, but there is a sizeable investment in message, as the author uncovers an unlikely revolution in a boy's reform school. As in most novels dealing with revolutions of this sort, the atmosphere of violence and a sense of reckless despair are prerequisites which Mr. Charyn has fully satisfied. His revolutionaries are a group of the impossibly lost, inmates of a brutal institution of the thirties. Handpicked by ""Uncle"" Nathanson for the most part, the boys comprise a Jewish militia for him in a Gentile world. Nick, whose Italian name is replaced by ""Lipschitz,"" enters the unholy compound as a teacher by placating Uncle. He is indelicately wooed by elephantine Mama, the social worker; drawn to the Rabbi, a demoralized cleric lost in polemic; becomes involved in the deals and grabs of his charges. Finally the brutality of the guards and the uplicity of the administration wins Nick over to the boys' side and together with the Rabbi, he organizes a revolt. This leads ultimately to the destruction of the school, but a glimpse of dignity and manhood survives...Murky with message.