A companion volume to A Peculiar Treasure, this too is autobiography, but it is the biography of the writer rather than the woman. The writer in the world in which she was placed, a tortured world, dictator-ridden, war torn. In sharp contrast there are the years before the war, where the writing punctuated the building of the house on a hilltop in Connecticut. This was in the main an idyllic experience, accompanied by few of the disasters and the hazards of which most writers make copy. Edna Ferber was slow in recognizing that the house, with all its mad extravagances, was a youthful dream come true. But step by step, she met the challenge, writing- as a professional must- on a strict schedule of discipline. This facet, and much that she has to say about gathering her material, about the exigencies of the writing profession, might well be made required reading for young aspirants. There is a good deal too of play writing- of the people with whom she worked. And- during the period after the London Blitz and the war's end, there is the record of a Special War Correspondent on assignment, with much of her philosophy as the war's horrors sharpened her perceptions. Some will take issue with her chapter on Israel, which seems to strike a false note in an otherwise sensitive book. But by and large, this is an extraordinary writer's saga.