I am inclined to feel that this saga of a clan should have been done as a piece of historical biography, a dramatized genealogy, rather than as straight fiction. It has the same sort of place in modern literature that Glenway Wescott's The Grandmothers and Louis Bromfield's The Farm have achieved -- it is an important contribution to Americana. But, somehow, as generation after generation of the Hites are born and fight and die, one is reminded of the ""begets"" of the Old Testament. The story, as such, lacks focus, lacks suspense and climax. We trace the century and a bit more, compassed by the record, from the uprooting of the young Baron Joist Heydt from Strassburg by the Hugenot troubles, down to the meeting on the field of battle of two scions of the clan, one in blue, one in grey, both fallen for the right as they saw it. The early colonial settlement days, the restless westward strivings, the opening up of the Wilderness Trail, of Kentucky and Ohio, Indian frontier troubles, French and Indian Wars, two wars with England, a distant echo of the Mexican War -- and finally the War between the States -- it covers a wide span of the American scene. A country is in the making -- a family plays its part.