In the ""Composer's World"" series, an adequate summary of the great composer's life. Thompson, a musicologist, writes intelligently about Beethoven's music, but fails to bring the tempestuous man to life in her dry account of his experiences, touching only lightly on such a major event as his deafness and reporting, for example, that he hated both his sisters-in-law without further explanation or examining the merits of his opinion. But the accompanying visuals are relevant, useful, and combined to create a handsome format: historical portraits and other illustrations, reproduced in color; manuscripts used as backdrops for text or other illustration. Several excerpts from the music, easily played on the piano, are also an excellent inclusion, though more scrupulous notes about how they have been abbreviated and/or transcribed would have been appropriate. Attractive and serviceable.