One Destiny

By Phil Stong
MR. STONG has made himself—partly by unremitting practice, one gathers from his own account — an uncommonly adroit craftsman of the light topical novel on a serious theme. His present theme, serious to solemnity, is nothing less than America groping toward and growing into a consciousness of unity — the unity that it must have to give a truly effective account of itself in a global war. But solemnity stops with the title, which happens to be out of Daniel Webster (“one country, one constitution, one destiny”). For the rest the story is told largely in crackling, not to say wisecrackling, dialogue out of the mouths of persons to whom the flippant touch is almost a point of honor, especially about everything they deeply mean and feel.
These persons are chiefly of one Mid-Western clan and its connections. The farming Murdocks represent Pittsville, Van Buren County, Iowa; and Pittsville more or less represents the nation at large between the Sunday of Pearl Harbor and virtually the moment when One Destiny had to go to press. Those nine months, more or less, make room for variegated physical adventures — one in the Southwest Pacific, another on the Western Ocean, still another in moonlighted woods by the Des Moines River. But the chief substance, the real meaning, of the book is wrapped up in its exhibition of hard-working citizens, everyday Americans, gradually drawing abreast of the great problem, common to millions and yet different for each, of fitting the personal life and work into the requirements of a nation at war. w. F.