THE BIG SECRET by Merle Colby


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To those who recall Colby's two early frontier novels, All Ye People and New Road with the keen delight attendant on a sense of discovery of a fresh talent, this book will come as a surprise -- it is so wholly different in mood, tempo, style. (I'd wager I'll not remember it vividly -- as I do the others -- fifteen years hence!) As June selection of the Literary Guild it is off to a good start -- and the follow through will depend on the live interest in books debunking Washington bureaucracy. In that category this ranks high, though it suffers from the attendant inadequacies of stock figures, caricature, oversize- or undersize -- drawing, and plot- contrived to fit the pattern of the runaround given any earnest seeker of a fair deal from government.... It is a more original book than Dos Passos' The Grand Design and seems more in the stream of current history, dealing as it does with a young Maine scientist running head-on into the big business interests determined to hamstring atomic research. Daniel finds himself in a lion's den of his own contriving, but manages in his very innocence and singleness of purpose to gentle the lions and win freedom for scientific research. In the process he makes friends and enemies, he escapes the meshes of the sultry daughter of a Cabinet minister, and he wins the support of Nancy, a statistician with the government, in his fight- and her agreement to substitute the remoteness of Maine for her beloved Washington. The characters stand out as symbols rather than full rounded personalities. But there's a good measure of humor, satire and perception in the drawing -- and the hallmark of authenticity, based on Colby's years as a government official.

Pub Date: May 6th, 1949
ISBN: 0548067996
Publisher: Viking