To EDNA FERBER goes the credit for falling in love with some fine American institutions: the vigor of our pioneers, the vitality of the West they built, the sense of obligation and the amazing maturity of our youngest — what Miss Ferber calls our “ demi-siècle ” — generation. As symbols she has chosen Seattle and the amazing Melendy family, whose four generations span the city’s history and indicate its future. That future has possibilities as vast as those which met the immigrants of less than a hundred years ago; they landed penniless in a wilderness and became the lumber and shipping barons, the Klondike gold kings whose watch-chain nuggets to this day proclaim them sourdoughs.
It is the youngest Melendy, Mike, at home in the air as his grandfather was in the ships of Puget Sound or his father behind the wheel of a Stutz, who knows he must put back into his country what his family has been taking with both hands since 1851. who knows it is a spiritual debt which can bo paid in the Burma jungles more easily than at home. Miss Ferber is a natural storyteller, and Americans are going to put her book well up on the bestseller lists in much the same spirit that they have placed the popular song “Don’t Fence Me In” at the head of the hit parade. It seems to me that the charms of American imperialism lurk unaware in both. Doubleday, Doran. $2.50.