The People from Heaven, John Sanford’s most ambitious and searing novel, completes his Warrensburg Trilogy, digging beneath the bucolic surface of a small-town to expose the hatred at its core.
The people of Warrensburg are divided by the arrival of a nameless Black woman. Her few allies call her America Smith, while the town’s most prominent citizens try to drive her out. This clash results in rape and murder. Sanford punctuates this spare plot with poetic episodes from the nation’s past, rooting the characters’ actions in the violence of the nation’s founding. He tells the story with an artistry of language that led the Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature to describe him as America’s “most outstanding neglected novelist.”
This new edition of Sanford’s literary masterpiece features an Afterward by Jack Mearns, author of John Sanford: An Annotated Bibliography. The other books in the trilogy are Make My Bed in Hell and The Old Man’s Place.
John Sanford (1904-2003) was a screenwriter and author who wrote 24 books. A one-time member of the Communist Party, he and his wife, the ground-breaking screenwriter Marguerite Roberts, refused to testify to the House Un-American Activities Committee, and were blacklisted in Hollywood for nearly a decade.
John Sanford’s most ambitious and searing novel, completes his Warrensburg Trilogy, digging beneath the bucolic surface of a small-town to expose the hatred at its core.
"A sacred book, majestic in its rebukes of those who violate the breath and origin of humanity while professing faith and going through the motions of holiness." Carl Sandburg
A trio of vicious World War One veterans descend on a farm in the Adirondack mountains. The arrival of a mail-order bride ignites a tinderbox of resentment, lust, and betrayal among the men that explodes in brutal depravity, bloody violence and shocking death. A literary, crime fiction classic.
On a freezing night, a lone farmer in the Adriondacks finds a starving man in his barn...what unfolds between the two men, past and present, is a brisk, gritty depiction of crime and punishment. A literary, crime fiction classic, out of print for 60 years.
A sacred book, majestic in its rebukes of those who violate the breath and origin of humanity while professing faith and going through the motions of holiness.
Only a warm-hearted and perceptive author who believes in the potential worth of humanity could have conceived the powerful conflicts, the trenchant syllables here. The fact that it succeeds in provoking an examination of national conscience as well as of person attitude also suggests its worth.
Sanford's technique is arresting and every page has a savor and quality of its own.