MAN'S COURAGE by Joseph Vogel


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Can't rank with the leading underdog writers of today, but this ironical, sober, simply told story of commonplace people, a Polish family, has a certain strength. Anton Wolak, simple, ignorant, inarticulate, but not without basic stamina and pride, who has always wanted to leave the city and be a farmer, but who, jobless, spends his $80.00, saved during 18 years over here, to keep going -- and then turns to relief. After weeks of useless questioning, they get relief, only to be taken off it because he gets two days of work which he neglected to report to the bureau. A worn-out wife, a child with rheumatic fever from undernourishment, the only kind of work offered him was to be a scab -- which he turns down. Finally eviction which he fights; the police are brought in and Anton is killed by a policeman shooting unnecessarily. There is a good deal below the surface of the story action -- a bitter satire of the whole relief set-up, the unnecessary red tape; the district politicians, out to get the Polacks' vote, are lampooned -- but primarily it is a very moving picture of this immigrant: Anton, a mute, stubborn, courageous fighter who is finally defeated. No walloping dramatic action but an accumulation of little tragedies in the lives of little people which combine to make it impressive. Cannot see a big popular sale for this but there should be a succes d'estime.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1938
Publisher: Knopf