Utterly documentary in approach and style this is the story of the decline and fall of a young Negro. Half-convinced that his way out of the slum ghetto in which he was born lay in taking no sides, Freddie Jefferson, at 17, had resigned himself to a two-tone world of double standards. A good if unpredictable student, he worked at night in a white bar and took on the additional burden of caring for the blind, crippled and bitter ex-war hero, Major Steiger, whom he comes to regard as a father. When his friend Avery is justifiably killed by a policeman, Freddie, as the only witness, finds himself the focal point of mounting racial tensions. Unwilling to allow his dead friend to be used as the symbol of an abused people and yet unable to make alliance with his natural enemy -- the white law, he does nothing and thereby settles his fate. He is repudiated by the only man with whom he had a common bond, loses his own self-respect and ends where he began. Robert Portune is the author of The Old Man and the Sky. This second novel, told in a grimly detailed style realistically suited to its subject matter is totally believable in theme though it remains less a novel, more the dramatization of a case study.