from the dust jacket of the 1979 Houghton Mifflin first edition
It is 1948; World War II is over but the world is not at peace. In San Francisco, Barbara Lavette, whose career as author and foreign correspondent was chronicled in Second Generation, is trying to make a life with her husband, Bernie Cohen, the soldier of fortune whom she'd first met in Paris, and their small son, Sam. Then comes a mysterious and urgent call, a secret mission for Bernie and a train of events that leads Barbara to a confrontation with a Congress caught up in the McCarthy Communist witch hunt, to jail, to further tragedy and final fulfillment.
With masterly skill, Howard Fast once more draws the reader into the turbulent and passionate affairs of the family of Dan Lavette, the immigrant fisherman's son who made and lost two fortunes, married and divorced one of the richest and most beautiful women in San Francisco, and in spite of associations with people of all walks of life, still seems most at home with the rough-and-tumble of the waterfront.
There is Dan's older son, Tom, with his unscrupulous drive for power, and Joe, the younger son by his second wife, May Ling, whose dedicated life as a doctor to the poor has ironically driven his wife, Sally, to a meteoric career in Hollywood. But it is Barbara who dominates the book and whose strength and magnetism will remain long in the reader's mind.
In The Establishment Howard Fast has again brought to life a cast of characters whose lives become a portrait of their times. Both The Immigrants and Second Generation were best sellers, and this third volume retains the same high quality.