..is a giant one for the alcoholic, A.A., and this first novel has some perhaps not new but many truths to say about an old problem. It is also a long, strong drink, loaded with sex, sentiment, breasts bared and beaten, but with a lot of honest to brutal recognitions about this disease which ""kills everything and leaves you alive for a long time"". Centered on some six people, who meet at Greenleaf Hill, an A.A. drying-out place where they spend six days together, this follows them on their return to their homes. Martin Gray, with his gentle guidance and knowledgeable experience, is the most influential one among them-although he has spent the years searching for some abstract absolute in flagellation; Abble who has had three husbands and a hundred men; Helen and David who drink together- not alone-Helen who will lone the custody of her son, David who cannot forget the horror of his mother's suicide; Ralph, a salesman, with a nagging, unloving wife; Evelyn, a housewife, whose drinking compensates for her husband's sexual repudiation. Each returns to the world- but keep in contact through the weeks to follow: Martin and Abble finds a common future together; Evelyn relapses once- but her husband is this time able to help her; Ralph faces the censure of his wife for the last time; David, still driven by personal devils and alcohol's D.T.'s, ends his life in a prison cell.... A long book, this retains a hold on the reader as compulsive as its subject, spikes it with the physical degeneration and moral guilt which is the alcoholic's, but also handles it with an undisguised emotion which may be that of experience. A book to watch, and for conservatives- to watch over.