THE LAND I LIVE by Stephen Longstreet


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Longstreet is attempting to telescope the mood and pace of this 20th century into a story focussed on one main character, in a novel that doesn't -- from that angle -- measure up to Ben Ames Williams' Time of Peace, nor in scope does it compare with the trilogy written in the past few years by Upton Sinclair. And yet it has something of both, is adequate and readable enough, but lacks the punch of his own Decade. A younger brother, brooding over the past as it relates to the steps by which his older brother reached the seats of the mighty, attempts to formulate what it was, in character and molding of events, that produced the man destined to be the next president of the United States. It is intended to be a story that might be true, of small town middle west, of a family of mixed antecedents, of the swan among the ugly ducklings, the son for whom everything broke right. He married a girl who gave him a social lift, but who lost herself in drugs and drink, their marriage a failure. After her death, he married a girl who prodded him on. It is a story of a youth who learned to play the game, then deserted his political mentors for an ideal -- and won through. It is a story built on the tale told every small boy -- that every American born lad has a chance at the White House. Perhaps I'm inclined to prefer less artificial formulae for pictures of these times.

Publisher: Random House