New York: Harper & Row, (1966).
Hardcover. First edition. Fine in fine dustwrapper. The Dedication Copy, Inscribed by the author to Charles W. Mann and his wife Nan: "For Charley and Nan, this long-promised and incomparably dedicated conduit for fried potato! Love, Alley. 27 April 1966. More to follow!" The printed dedication reads: "For Nan and Charley." Mann was the rare books and special collections librarian at Penn State, where West emigrated and was teaching when the book was published, and they were apparently quite close. The inscription acknowledges the autobiographical nature of the book, signed by West as "Alley," and more books featuring the protagonist were indeed to follow as this title was the first of a quartet featuring Alley Jaggers. West is an especially interesting, and in our opinion much underappreciated writer. Aside from important scholarly and critical work, he also published acclaimed non-fiction, and his novels, especially the Alley Jaggers series, seemed to capture the mid- to late-century zeitgeist, without providing the necessary stereotypical style to easily characterize or pigeonhole them in the literary canon. We suspect they will be more fully appreciated at a later date.