Although it takes a thousand and one tales to reach its end, Not At These Hands spins a palpable, quietly perceptive yarn about the South just prior to the first World War. Its hero is one George Cobbet who leaves the plough for a go at the big town; he works as a copy boy on a newspaper, falls in love with the daughter of his benefactor, learns how much evil lurks behind the most respectable facades, comes to manhood finally in a sad but realistic fashion. There are any number of deft character touches. Fine bits of local color; cherry cobblers, parades and spooning are neatly pitted against the of backroom politics or the pathetically furtive sexual adventures of adults. And in the climax when George stands trial for manslaughter, the destruction of innocence through the poignant revelations of his mother's past is both highly dramatic and ironically relevant. Although much too long and essentially homespun, this is still an engaging and earnest portrait of youth.