Whitey McAlpine, who lends his name to the title, has surprisingly very little to do with the story here as it is told by his contemporary, George Howard. They come from very different backgrounds and George has inherited longstanding privileges and wealth- a fact which he questions throughout the book but never repudiates. They are however connected circumstantially by their fathers' highway accident and Ben McAlpine's subsequent death which buries with him certain conjectures about a not altogether ethical business deal in which rich man Howard had been involved. The story here begins on the day of the accident but leads back to it through the years to follow. While Whitey McAlpine is only a marginal figure in their lives- he becomes a writer and a rebel, George Howard does marry Carol McAlpine, and is partly attracted to her ""because the whole country is like them"". However, as this reaches the end of a good many intermittent incidents and random conversations, George is able to dispose of his scruples about his own wealth and speculations about his father's conduct by morally fuzzing the real issues at hand. It is all somewhat inconclusive; more definite are some of the telltale discriminatory remarks of a racial as well as social nature which are dropped from time to time.