THE NATION: The One-Town Skirmish

"What is the 1952 version of the old-fashioned Christmas story?" wired TIME Correspondent John McCormally from Kansas. "Isn't the story basically the same—charity? Not just the rich being charitable to the poor, but the free giving a hand to the struggling, the confident reassuring the doubtful? Isn't it a whole people being measured up?"

At Christmas time a year ago, McPherson, Kans. (pop. 9,000) was unshakable in the certainty that it was a satisfied, solid, respectable U.S. community. The county seat of a prosperous, diversified farming area on the eastern edge of...

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