In spite of the attractive title, in spite of the fact that Thackeray is one of the few literary figures of the 19th century whose intimate doings haven't overcrowded library shelves, this is a disappointment. For this, the result of many years of research, is too obviously that, and is both ponderous and pedantic for the general reader. Unfortunately Thackeray's fine sense of humor, his wit, the marriage to an unbalanced woman, the many jaunts abroad are lost in documentary detail- and the human element forgotten. Here too are his contemporaries, such notables as Carlyle, Dickens, Fitzgerald, Trollope, the sob-sentimentalists whom he derided. A necessity for college and public libraries, a book which will receive critical attention, and a piece of book making which is outstanding. The illustrations, with Thackeray's own amusing drawings, warrant in themselves price of admission.