This volume is an auspicious beginning to a series ""designed to provide short but authoritative books"" dealing with important British men of science; one hopes the rest of the series will be made available to American readers as further contributions appear in England. ""The volumes are written by leading authorities and though the biographical aspect has not been neglected the emphasis is naturally on scientific achievement."" Although Lyell's name is scarcely known today by others than students in his own field, he was a potent force in 19th century science as a whole, doing perhaps more than any other single person to prepare the way for the work of his best friend, Charles Darwin, Lyell was also the first to succeed in freeing geology from the authority of revelation, and the first to discredit the ""Catastrophic"" theory of scenic changed. This volume, with its many illustrations, tables, and a fine index, lucidly explains his theories and the particular discoveries he made in the course of his travels throughout Europe and North America. It also provides a good basis for a general study of geology and, incidentally but not unimportantly, a lively portrait of an interesting man who was as much a part of his times outside his chosen field as he was ahead of those times within it.