A condensation of a PhD thesis, this ""critical biography"" of a leading American composer is dutiful in tone, betraying little of the author's stated delight in her subject. She recounts his career from antecedents and childhood through studies in Paris with Boulanger, encounters on the Continent, critical chills and thrills back home, to his present standing as a renowned composer in an American idiom, who constantly seeks to help modern music and younger practitioners of his art. There is special attention given to the works throughout, with comments on the three periods of his development in style, and critiques of individual pieces along with notes on their reception and place in the pattern of artistic growth. Copland's influence and roles as composer and critical essayist are also considered. His works, in both fields are listed, also recordings are noted. Disappointingly impersonal and dispirited- once removed in tone....but informative nevertheless. Musical extracts.