A firm little biography of the remarkable boy general and ally of America- from his youth in Auvergne to his last departure for France from Chesapeake Bay in 1825. But over and above Lafayette's spurts of action at Brandywine, at Yorktown, as friend of Washington, as a crusader for democratic ideals during the French revolution, readers (though perhaps not the young ones for whom this is intended) may wonder what actually sparked the man's dramatic career. Was it because he came from an influential family, or his undeniable manifestation of strong ideals, or the fact that the colonies definitely wanted France's aid, or a combination of factors? The author hints of all of these-noncommittally. From a lack of personal evaluation Lafayette emerges more as a creed than a man. But smooth moving chronology of events keeps this on the list of useful supplementary material.