Whatever its larger thematic intent (and with a title like Manifest Destiny, there is an enormous purpose guiding the plot), this is a two-generation novel about the growth of Kansas, taking us from the Reconstruction era to World War I. Humorless, didactic John Philip Garwood, a young lawyer who loses his shirt on the stock exchange, comes to the great Kansas plains to dig in and make a new start. After a back-breaking year of solitary farming, he is ready to send back East for his wife. But she has died during childbirth. Four more solitary years pass as he ills his land, lives literally in a hole or dugout, becomes involved with the Grange and brings his baby daughter to live with him. Finally, he marries a lumpish girl he doesn't love and begins building a home and family. His true love is politics, however, and he sells his farm. But again he loses--at the polls and it's back to the farm. Politics continues its hold on him, and one learns all about city, state and national politicking. The story is told with hard-eyed factuality and no romance, the characters are admirably three dimensional, and the novel is as real as falling down the cellar steps.