A confused, overcrowded novel of a young, ex-G.I. teacher and his wife, who find themselves in a small mid-western town ""on the edge of former slave territory"". Andrew Cameron's search for background material for his thesis on the life of a local abolitionist who had been lynched before the Civil War leads him first to a local tavern-keeper, long interested in the martyred Mountwood, and then to an abortive attempt to elect a Negro to the School Board. The story wends it way through many issues, teen-age sex, unions, homosexuality, communism, the after-effects of the war, the Negroes themselves. Over them all like a giant vise is the necessity of retaining their respective jobs for their families' sake as well as their own, and to top it all off there is the age-old dilemma of the intellectual- the inability to act when action is the only way out. Cameron is a modern anti-hero, but his stature is not great enough; and although there is both sincerity and care here, the story suffers from the weakness of its central character, the many problems which are projected without solution.