If it weren't for Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt quipped, Thomas would be getting her vote, the Socialist Party candidate who ran for office so often -- in each presidential election between 1928 and 1948 as well as several tries for mayor, governor and senator in New York -- that to generations of us his name on the ballot was as familiar and palatable as a morning's bowl of oatmeal. In a curious biography that reads as if the author changed his attitude midway in the writing (in the first half we're given adoring trifles -- the unheated condition of the bedroom in Marion, Ohio, where Norman Mattoon Thomas was born in 1884, etc. etc.) Stewart examines how it was that Mr. Socialism with his Princeton good manners, his Presbyterianism (he was an ordained minister for 21 years), his pacifism (yet he endorsed the Korean War), his anti-Communism (effectively exploited by the CIA), made himself acceptable to the establishment (long before his death in 1968 at 84 conservatives such as Goldwater were full of his praise), while accomplishing little for the political cause of socialism in this country. A convincing biography that topples like a tenpin the man Esquire has dubbed one of the ""Unknockables.