**This should be on the required reading lists of anyone who wants a vivid picture of life in a Manchester mill in the early 1800's, of the struggle for bread among children- in the streets of Liverpool, of the treacherous crossing to the New World and of the beginnings of democracy, as the Federalists and Democrats fight for power in New York City. It is ostensibly a reflective portrait of a boy who rises from the worst possible conditions of poverty to become a spy in the ""glorious conspiracy"" which exposed Hamilton's treachery in tampering with free elections and insured Jefferson's ascent to the Presidency. Before he is rescued by the generous exile, Jean-Pierre, Ben Brown wandered the countryside in search of food, in fear of deportation, desperate and alone. Slowly Jean-Pierre helps Ben recover his long buried knowledge of the written word and finds him a job as a printer's helper. Thus he is thrown into the struggle between Federalists and Democrats and finds friends among both groups. How Ben emerges from an uncivilized urchin to a courageous newspaper columnist, beset always by realistic problems, creates a stirring novel, of an individual and the era in which he lived.