Not an autobiography in the traditional sense but, like Night Country (1971), a sprawling web of memories and thoughts both fugitive and insistent. Eiseley lets the years eddy through his mind in loose rhythms of association. It has been a far-flung life--from the difficult Nebraska boyhood, Depression rail-riding, and unorthodox recuperation from TB in the Mohave Desert to the delayed college career and the eventual rewarding relationship with the University of Pennsylvania. But what Eiseley sees now is a sequence of essential onenesses. The chance collection of rail-riders who sat drinking grape pop one unflawed day in a small Kansas town was not only a perfect image of timeless human archetypes--Indian, Greek, and Egyptian--but also in some sense they were literally the reunion of the ancient constituents of humanity. Everywhere Eiseley finds the past alive in the present, not merely as metaphor but as reality. It is true for himself as an individual--the son of a deaf, half-crazy mother whose fear and anger continue to define the shape of his life--but even more for a planet filled with living conundrums that stubbornly resist the most ingenious answers. ""In the world there is nothing below a certain depth that is truly explanatory. It is as if matter dreamed and muttered in its sleep. But why, and for what reason it dreams, there is no evidence."" We have no lack of searchers for that ""why""; people who let themselves ask ""how"" write all too few books.