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from the dust jacket of the 1954 Blue Heron first edition

Silas Timberman

Until October of 1950, Silas Timberman was a professor of American literature at a large middle-western university, a mild, happily married man, the father of three children, whose life was neither eventful nor very unusual.

Then a set of circumstances sought him out, almost by chance, it seemed, and he was faced with that enormous and frightening question of conscience which has entered the lives of so many Americans in our time.

He had to decide whether to maintain the principles of free speech and free thought in which he had always believed -- though quite casually -- and take what consequences came from this; or whether to abandon these principles, rationalize them out of existence, and thereby cling to security and comfort.

How he and his wife, Myra, decided this question, what they did and what happened to them, is the story Howard Fast tells here.