At the opening of the novel lawyer Joe Chapin has just bought the farm. C.O.D. who knows? But all (except the President) of the political big game are at the funeral, most as honorary pallbearers. We learn about Joe mostly through a dissection of the citizens of Gibbsville, until we have the skinny on just about everyone in town, among other places. The author uses painstaking descriptions, but not painless. In many ways he seems to be rivaling Faulkner for paragraph length. Moving on, we finally get to know Joe first-hand. Then, after nearly 50 years on the political sideline (and 300 pages) he wants suddenly to be President of the USofA; but first Lt. Governor of Penn. And get this; he intends to use his own money. No O.P.M. for him! No siree Billy-Joe-Jim-Bob! He never gets there and amid the melodrama of the final 80 or so pages, we discover that he succumbs to cirrhosis of the liver. Back cover ADV: Politics, Sex and Social Intercourse. Dont look for too much sex though, unless you want the married with children kind; else confine your reading to the last 80 pages. But, there is no doubt about it being politics as usual: not with all the free-flowing booze even during prohibition. No siree Billy-Joe-Jim-Bob!