This is the most obsessive book I've read since- perhaps, Strange Fruit. It is the sort of book one would like to ignore, to forget, because it indicts every member of society in such fearless terms, while offering no specific for the ills it presents. This might be the story of any young criminal before the bar, a story you follow eagerly, hopefully, despairingly, as Nick takes the downward path, pushed under by each new contact with authority, -- reform school, the bars and dives and haunts of gangsterdom in the slums of Chicago where he lives; the pimps, the perverts, the petty criminals with whom he is thrown; the easy- and the exciting- ways of vice and crime that are opened up to him. And yet there are the influences for good, too-the friends at all walks of life, from the Negro boy he helped to the social investigator who tried repeatedly to lift him out and the lawyer who took his case-and almost won. Its an absorbingly interesting book; its vulgarities, while they shock, are integral to the scene. The period- more or less contemporary- leaves us no 'out' that conditions are better. One character after another rings true, none are drawn in sharply black and white terms. And- in final analysis- the law, from top to bottom, seems a travesty of that ""justice"" it seeks to interpret. A book sure to cause controversy wherever it is read; let's hope that very controversy will make people read it. Heavy promotion promised by publishers.