Reflecting the changes in the Midwest farming country of pre -- and post-Pearl Harbor, this novel deals in detail with the maturing of young Mark, whose German background and highly individualistic father keep him from making himself an integral part of the community. There is always the farm to hold him --his one emotional escape is through a widow, whom he thinks he loves, and a ""good time girl"" who also engages his fancy. He tries to enlist, but is told that his job is to ward off a coming grasshopper invasion, and in successfully promoting neighborhood cooperation, he realizes that there is a place and a job for him at home. An accidental crippling, and the need to help the local doctor in the flu epidemic underline once more his importance to the home front battle, and Mark at last finds himself able to give of himself wholeheartedly, with the aid of the right girl. A slow-motion, thoughtful novel of place and character, mirroring in small ways, a boy's growth and a community pattern.