In the bewilderment and confusion of the present, dos Passos goes back to the actuality of the past, to find the assurances for the future of America, of freedom, of the democratic processes. Through the lives of the men who have contributed to the foundations of the American way of life, ""the ground we stand on"", lies the faith America needs at a time actually scarcely more chaotic than that which saw the rise of liberty. He has chosen Roger Williams, Franklin, the Adamses, Jefferson and Joel Barlow, all but Williams and Barlow briefly biographized. With his two main protagonists not too fascinating as central figures, the appeal of the book seems to me fairly limited. Fully documented with source material. Dos Passos, here as in fiction, has a lively narrative style.