Apes and Angels

Philip Appleman, Author Putnam Publishing Group $18.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-399-13379-4
How does Kenton, Ind., a small, predominantly Republican town, respond to New Deal liberalism and the looming threat of war in the last months of 1941? Saul Edelman, one of the town's three Jews, feels the Ku Klux Klan's wrath when his weekly newspaper runs editorials that defend Darwinism and condemn the Nazis. In an atmosphere of complacent isolationism, his schoolteacher daughter Elaine has a steamy affair with the town's respectable, married doctor, Thomas Roberts. One of Elaine's pupils, Paul Anderson, has the hots for her but ends up stealing his brother's girlfriend instead. Paul's father Charlie manufactures Slayzall, ``a supremely Republican insecticide . . . proud of its defiance of FDR.'' Appleman ( Shame the Devil ) evokes small-town America on the eve of Pearl Harbor without nostalgia or condescensionan impressive feat in itself. Amos 'n' Andy, Cab Calloway, The Maltese Falcon , Sunday hellfire sermons, quilting beesthe period bric-a-brac adds authenticity. Young love triumphs in this engaging novel about the end of innocence, both personal and national. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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