**An utterly fascinating recapturing of the stormy years leading up to the American Revolution, and of John Adams' memorable part in them. While scholars will quarrel with Mrs. Bowen's ""fictionization"" (use of conversation, exploring the mental conflicts and thoughts of her characters, describing in factual detail incidents that are true to the spirit of the times and the outlines of history, but are not on actual record as occurring thus and so, etc.) -- the general reading public will rejoice in feeling, as does this reader, that any liberties taken contribute only to a sense of identity with the people, the mood of the times, the place, and thereby enhance and deepen the sense of living history. The story of John Adams, from his tenth year through the formulation of the Declaration of Independence, makes lively reading. He emerges as a real person- and those who loved Janet Whitney's Abigail Adams will feel that they have explored more intimately one of the real love stories of American history, and been- in process of reading- an integral part of Boston of the days of the Boston Massacre, the famous Tea Party, the siege- the trials in which John Adams had the courage to defend the unpopular cause, and so on. The earlier chapters give a close-up picture of his school days, his training and first experience in the law, his family and marriage. And throughout, there is the awareness of the overall march of history, of the change in attitude toward the mother country, of the growing sense of one cause at odds with local sovereignty. An exciting, absorbing book. Possibly less easy reading than her popular Yankee From Olympus- but well worthwhile.