[In a sense, The Truants] reads like a thoughtful novel—[Barrett] cannot separate Partisan Review and its sometimes overbearing contributors from the cultural and historical pressures of the period. As evidence, just when we are thoroughly hooked by his first-rate personality portraits, we see that Barrett is really after a lot bigger game than we had originally expected….
William Barrett now looks back upon [the] bold effort to link together the values of high art and revolution as by and large a self-willed illusion. Although he himself was a Marxist during his days on Partisan Review, he finds that he and his fellow editors never once questioned the inherent loss of...
(The entire section is 440 words.)