This is no glamorous romance of a young marine and a lovely Polish girl -- though the romance is there. But it is there against a grim background Pittsburgh's ? steel and riverside slums; against the machinations of criminal scru and politics, per and manipulating little lives, of a sort of American fascism, which Joe finds out when he comes back form , with a Star on his . For while he's been gone, his girl, Stalls, has had a baby -- and found that there's a price to pay for getting and holding a job if one happens to combat the lustful desires of the man is power. Joe has been fighting beasts -- he no to stop -- and he finds himself the victim of manmade laws and so-called justice. Just how he and Stell meet this: how they win a few -- a very few -- to their side -- and how a win their right to start life makes a holding novel. At times Cohen labors his points at time the book is lush, over but he has something important to pay and isn't afraid to say it.