TRAGIC GROUND by rakine Caldwell


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It would take more than the genius of Erskine Caldwell to rescue this from the lime. It is being labelled a city slum ""Tobacco Road"" -- but, for my money, it lacks the redeeming milk of human kindness and the humor that might have put it in that category. In the abstract, one can deplore the possibility of a society which permits such fetid city copools as Poor Boy; but as one roads of the downandoutors who were washed up when the boom of the war passed them by, Caldwell gives one little cause to feel that such poor fctsam of humanity can over find justification for survival.....Spence Douthit futilely longs for the hills he left, but cannot translate his homesickness into action; his war job and earnings gone, he lives on the edge of extinction, saved by the meagre handouts of Libby, the older daughter, who alone has the guts to reach beyond the slime. His wife, the whining, sodden Maud; Navi, who at 13 has found her niche in a whorehouse; his pal, Spence, with his growing swarm of potential prostitutes; the quarrelsome next-door-neighbors -- form the cast for an experiment in social welfare which is deliberately caricatured out of recognition. Viewed as a social document with a purpose, this fails to measure up to such a book as Idllie Crackell. In Caldwell's own record, it makes sweetness and light out of some of his other tales.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1944
Publisher: Duell, Sloan & Pearce