Pitted against the town golden boy in childhood by their apathetic underachiever neighbors, young Francis "Spud" Pinkham is tainted by their rivalry into adulthood, at which point he is challenged to prove his own worth. Reprint. 60,000 first printing.
Cedar Hole is the armpit of fictional Gilford County, a town full of apathetic underachievers trapped by a defunct railroad, distrust of the outside world, and their own lack of imagination. During the annual Train Festival, citizens are called to declare the town's "greatest man," and a fierce rivalry ensues between Robert J. Cutler, town golden boy, and Francis "Spud" Pinkham. When the competition follows the boys into adulthood, Francis must struggle to step out from Robert's shadow and prove his own worth. It is only through love, starting a family of his own, and a brush with the American dream that Francis Pinkham learns what it takes to be the Greatest Man in Cedar Hole.