Babbitt turns the spotlight on middle America and strips bare the hypocrisy of business practice, social mores, politics, and religious institutions. In his introduction and notes Gordon Hutner explores the novel's historical and literary contexts, and highlights its rich cultural and social references.
As a boy, Dick Falkner ran away from abject poverty and an abusive alcoholic father. Sixteen years later, he finds himself hungry of body and empty of spirit in a Midwestern town. Although he finds no help in this so-called Christian town, he is eventually taken in by George Udell, a local publisher and kindhearted man. Through hard work and Christian morals, this man, who becomes known as "that printer of Udell's," rises above his past to a new, inspiring life with God.