This is Henry Bellamann's wonderful novel that many call a lost American classic. Despite being a critical and commercial success on its release in 1940, leading to a film version with Ronald Reagan two years later, King's Row and the rest of Bellamann's works are largely forgotten today. This is unfortunate, as King's Row is a novel that should be richly appreciated both for the skill of its construction and the richness of its ideas. It's an important novel from a cultural and historical context, and there's nothing else quite like it.
At first, King's Row almost seems as if it could pass as just another slice of small town Americana, no more daring or cutting than a Norman Rockwell painting -- a safer and gentler Peyton Place. However, as the story unfolds, it reveals surprising depths of darkness, using beautiful prose to reveal some very ugly truths about the human mind and the civilization that it creates.