Bellow's earlier work - Augie March, Henderson the Rain King and Herzog - shows that he was one of the great novelists of our time. This book, however, is more of an essay than a novel. Written at the time of the US moon-shot, Artur Sammler reflects on his planet at the time of a giant new step for mankind. He lives in a decaying New York and he is a Holocaust survivor. So his report on his planet is not great - though he does recognise that things weren't great at the time of Julius Caesar either.
Sammler's benefactor is dying; his benefactor's children are ungrateful; Sammler himself has troubles with a pickpocket, and with his daughter and son-in-law. He reflects quite a bit on HG Wells and his world view. And on Meister Eckhardt, whom he is reading and with whom alone he feels an intellectual affinity. He stops to have a very long intellectual conversation in which he sums up his view of life in Chapter 5.
This is not without interest - but at the end of the day, more of an essay than a novel - and a book that is very much of its time.