A midwestern town representing in microcosm the unintentional hurts from which spring violent actions and emotions, the gnawing bitterness of sectionalism from which savage revolt ensues. With the return of Jim Miller, an ex GI with an artificial leg, the events loading up to a fire in the town are precipitated. Jim unintentionally touches off the Negro Len Sharpe's simmering resentments; he is instrumental in bringing 17-year old Petey Jordan out of her adolescent dreams, in offering Genevieve Aronson a chance for physical passion. In return, Jim is ultimately able to out off from the town and all its old hold on him. The author of Casualty (1946) again probes, grimly, deeply, into the motivations of good and evil and the thresholds between, accenting less heavily than Farrell the sociological patterns but using them as fundamental issues conditioning his characters. Not for libraries with conservative requirements.