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Elia Peattie was an outspoken journalist and social activist who gave her attention to such areas as orphanages, charity hospitals, the Wounded Knee massacre, capital punishment, and the like. The Precipice is partially based on the life of her close friend Katherine Ostrander, a social work pioneer, and tells of the evolution of Kate Barrington after her college years and with it the evolution of society as a whole and women in particular in pre-World War I America. Friendship, romance, betrayal, searchings of the soul, dreams, and shattered hopes -- all the stuff of life -- bring Kate to full realization of her true self. (Introduction by Mary Schneider)