Before, during, and after World War II, three generations of men make their mark on the world in acclaimed author Dorothy Salisbury Davis's vibrant, thought-provoking novel that scrutinizes the conscience of men in a time of crisis.
As Europe slides toward war, the faculty of a midwestern university fight a crusade of their own - the campaign against Communism. The local publishing magnate has accused economics professor Jonathan Hogan of being a Red, and the scholar is forced to defend himself in front of the university's elders. They spare him, for Hogan is no Communist - merely a free thinker, open and honest in an age when conformity is the norm. When war threatens the United States, he is one of those whom his country will need most. Jonathan goes into civil service during the war, advising the government on the economic impacts of the conflict. His son Marcus takes a different route, studying surgery in an attempt to heal those whom the savagery of war has maimed. And, years later, Jonathan's grandson Tad will follow his own conscience, too, when he comes violently of age. But what are the consequences of standing by one's principles in an era when darkness threatens to overwhelm civilization?