Anderson's first published work.......and it feels it. A wee bit disjointed an rambling in my opinion. Sam is a very hard-working industrious young lad, the son of a drunkard Civil War veteran in a small Iowa farm town, ashamed of his father and influenced greatly by some local businessmen and artistic intellectuals. Destined for great things, we witness his eventual escape from his town and rise to greatness in Chicago.....or is it great? The later soul-searching for 'truth' begins to feel tedious.....and his energetic drive gets him going in instance after instance, but when he hits a bump in the road, he bails.....which i do not understand. His character becomes unbelievable to me.......and then he is reduced to almost becoming his father, although there never is a realization of that to him, him being so very thoughtful and introspective. It just did not pass muster with me. I think i get the gist of why this book was written, but the execution was sorely lacking. Not the most painful book I have ever read, but i wanted so much more! The introduction by Wright Morris gave me some useful context, but i thankfully read it after the book....they should all be 'afterwords', since they often give away the story.....which is the whole reason i read in the first place!!!