A PRIDE OF LIONS by John Brooks


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There's an undercurrent of intended cynicism in the title, for the story tells of the hopeless attempt on the part of a tiny kernel of the Old Guard to hold back progress in a backwater town in what is probably southern New Jersey, ""East Bank"" on the Delaware. Almost, as the ingredients of the story begin to emerge, one feels that here is a Marquand in the making. But the end result is disappointing, shadowy, inconclusive. Tom Osborne might be any aspiring young editor, in a New York publishing house, in love- more for the sake of being in love- with a ""girl in the office"", Mary- but ashamedly drawn back by invisible bonds to the past in the town where he was raised. A vague summons from his mother takes him home for an unscheduled vacation. Once there he finds himself again battling shadows, unable to cope with the real problems while the accepted ones- a leaking waterspout, broken back steps, unpruned hydrangeas- are entirely too simple. One gets the whole tempo of the town:- a few people still living on past glories and forgotten standards, while the ""newcomers"" push them aside, their club grows shabby, and their issues are windmills. Not until Tom recognizes where his loyalties lie, despite the shadows, not until he brings Mary down to see the town and his family for himself, does he become whole, able to see it for what it is, to admire the futile gallantry of the little band, to allow his elders their eccentricities, and to escape- with Mary- to New York again. John Brooks has done a better book than his earlier, The Big Wheel, but still has far to go.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1954
Publisher: Harper