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from the dustjacket of the Dodd, Mead first edition

Strange Yesterday

Five generations of Preswicks, living,  loving, fighting, laughing, and dying in a surge of limitless  power that paralleled the course of America. A full tale of a  family that grew with America, of an Aristocracy that gained  everything but reason to live.
Two women bore John Preswick two  children — one the daughter of a southern innkeeper, who  nursed a broken Revolutionary soldier back to health, the other a  girl in New York, who waited seven years for her lover to return  from the war. From these children grew the two branches of the  Preswick family, a strange tangle of incestuous love and restless  longing, that stretches over one hundred and fifty years, to the  World War and the South of today, living in the glory of its  past.
All America walks past in STRANGE  YESTERDAY. Old New York, shaking loose from the British  occupation, privateers snapping at Britain's rule of the sea,  preying free as pirates, men losing their bodies and souls in a  mad dash for California and gold, men piling up fortunes in  fantastic booms and ventures, men off to fight a war in France,  returning lost and broken.
Here is an original, thrilling tale of  the love of a brother for his sister, of men for gold and death.  It is a pageant, simply and powerfully told.