John R. Tunis

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Ellen Lewis Buell

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[Mr. Tunis] has ever been concerned with the working-out of democratic ideals in American life…. [In "Son of the Valley" he explores] the significance of a great democratic experiment: that of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The experiences of the Heiskell family … typify those of many a farming family of that region. Here is seen that deep love of the land, the fierce resentment of government authority, the rock-ribbed opposition to innovation…. It was a back-breaking struggle, but in the end the most stubborn old-timer acknowledged the benefits of TVA.

All of this is so true in essence, so far-reaching in its implications that one wishes this were a better story. Unfortunately, Mr. Tunis has so much to tell that he has skimped characterization. His book frequently reads more like a thesis on agriculture than work of fiction. Nevertheless serious-minded readers will find here much that is stimulating.

Ellen Lewis Buell, "Tennessee Farmer," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1949 by The New York Times Company: reprinted by permission), March 20, 1949, p. 26.

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Howard Pease