Whitelaw (William Tecumseh Sherman, p. 111, etc.) presents an unsentimental and clear-eyed portrait of Hawthorne in this entry in the World Writers series. Young readers will be surprised to know that Hawthorne was by no means a good student. He lived with his grandparents, his mother, and sisters, and had few friends, preferring to spend hours alone in the woods when his family moved from Salem, Mass., to Maine. After graduation from Bowdoin College, Hawthorne found literary success elusive, and, like many writers, he was always short on cash. This problem continued through his marriage and the birth of his children; success finally came with the publication of The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. A timeline encapsulates his life, and many black-and-white photos put faces on the famous people who drifted through it. Readers may be amused by the numerous letters Hawthorne wrote to various editors, denigrating his own work. A commendable and well-researched work.