Several lives too long, alas. Let's hope that Mr. Conant draws an adept biographer or two with fewer compunctions about editing and a greater predilection for literary flair. There's a little dry humor inherent in Conant's unabashed sense of himself, but it's hardly of a vibrancy to relieve the interminability of this tome. Much worthy material is buried herein, covering ""ten or twelve inventions"" ranging from the M.A.T. degree to the postwar ""Committee on the Present Danger."" He had a versatile career as head of Harvard's chemistry department and then president of the university, was Eisenhower's Ambassador to the German Federal Republic, chairman of the wartime National Defense Research Committee and deputy to Vannevar Bush in matters concerning the atomic bomb, member of the Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission (privy to important cold war decisions), and self-appointed investigator of public schools and teacher education. The author will undoubtedly draw readers, but the book will be hard-pressed to hold them.