Grand reading, this biography of one of his forebears, one James Smith, whose life cycle included the years between 1755 and 1799, when our country was born against overwhelming odds. It reads like an absorbing adventure yarn, incredibly full of the ""spirit of ""76"" without being in the least degree flag waving. Young Smith was in on the first shot, fired against western Pennsylvania frontiersmen in rebellion against the High landers, French, Indians, British, friend or foe -- it was all one more or less, so long as frontier rights were accepted. Smith fell prisoner, he was takes away by the Indians and adopted into the tribe, and there grew into a scout almost as skilled as his teachers. Escape was continually postponed, but finally the chance came -- and he virtually tumbled into the outposts of the War of Independence, at Quebec. The story gathers momentum -- it has the rapid fire pace of a well plotted novel -- and should appeal to those who like odd bits of history, Americana and a good tale.