Written in 1947, this novel depicts a postwar American economy torn by the demands of returning veterans. McGrath, America's preeminent poet of the working class, describes in an alternately bittersweet and soaring prose style a week in the life of Joe Hunter, a young Communist Party member coming home to a war of another kind. He and his comrades on New York's West Side challenge the machinations of union bosses who control the docks. McGrath offers no paean here to the proletariat; rather, by way of an enormous narrative empathy, he subtly makes the case for the just intentions of his protagonist. Most striking, however, is the lyrical power of McGrath's writing, the building from particulars toward a commanding perspective upon the whole. This is a stirring look at a New York that still exists, and at a site of struggle that has all but vanished.