This story does not follow exactly the thread indicated by the title. It is, however, a story of 85 people and their experiences in and out -- for and against -- self-help groups or "co-ops". The main group grows from the down and outers who inhabited Pipe City in California, a community dwelling created out of sewer pipes parked in a vacant lot. They talked collective operation -- tried it and accumulated partial support against opposition in selling their products. Final failure and loss of pride. The book ends with an interview between the leader and President Roosevelt. Realistic bit of reporting -- inconclusive -- but the story is interesting and full of home truths. Political views color the story and emotional phases are inevitable, though the emphasis is on reasoning rather than on party and the line is sharply drawn between socialism and communism.