A drab-looking picture album, alas, with a dull, stodgy text and only one attention-holding section. ""Towering over the landscape, the familiar shape of the giant wheels has meant fun and entertainment to people all over the world. Generations of riders have been thrilled by the stately circular journey and by the chance to look down on sights below, suddenly grown small."" Even the opening day festivities of the Columbian Exposition Ferris wheel are leaden here--in the grainy, gray-toned pictures, too. What the book does first is illustrate pleasure wheels of old--spottily, from a 1620 Turkish example through assorted 19th century American models. (There is no attempt to trace the origin or spread of such devices.) Then comes, colorlessly, the account of George Ferris' wheel--the technology, construction, destruction. Next, we learn about wheels subsequently built elsewhere, by others (including the Eli Bridge Company, still in operation). And last and best, we see variants--the 1901 Pan-American Exposition Aerie Cycle, today's Skydiver and Skywhirl. Plus, intriguingly: a small, hand-turned wheel photographed on a New Delhi street in 1981--a reminder, perhaps, that the subject is intrinsically more interesting than its mechanical treatment here.