THE TOWNSMAN by John Sedges
Kirkus Star


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A substantial novel of the opening up of America's middle west -- of the making of a town in the Kansas prairie. Not this time, a story of mushroom growth, but of gradual building around basic needs -- shelter, livelihood, a school, a church -- and of the conflict within the tiny community as to whether these values should be sacrificed to economic urge, symbolized by making the town a cattle town, with all that signified of violence and greed. The central figure is an Englishman, brought in boyhood, to an America that his boisterous, vital father saw as the promised land, that his mother and the children feared and dreaded. The period was the opening up of homesteading in Kansas --following the Civil War; and the little family formed a small segment of a movement that moved over and left them behind. Later, when failure again dogged the father, he uprooted part of the family again -- and moved on to greener fields. But Jonathan stayed behind, and built towards the school and the town he envisioned. He loved -- and lost -- a girl who could not have built with him; he married the girl who loved him and saw the same goal he saw. It is a story of America growing -- an undramatized story of simple people, of the absorption of new blood into the American stream. Well-done, though one could wish it had ended on the decision of Jonathan to return to America, and to close the door on England of his boyhood memories, to know himself wholly an American....

Pub Date: May 31st, 1945
Publisher: John Day