This biography, written by the head of the art department of Amherst, is oddly bare of the anecdotes and personal touches generally expected in a ""life"". Michelangelo appears to have been one of those artists whose life was almost wholly contained in his work. His impersonal, crotchety, secretive personality, which for most of his 89 years expressed itself chiefly in a variety of art forms, under various patrons, appears all the stranger against the turbulent period in which he lived. This background is broadly and competently described, and Florence, under the Medici, Rome under various popes, a scintillating array of great artists, wars, assassinations and political intrigues, make up for a certain lack of personal color in the narrative. However, anecdotal biography is not the purpose of this book. It is a record of work against the background that shaped it, and where its prose really shines is in the descriptions of Michelangelo's methods, and the interpretations of their results. The analysis of the paintings in the Sistine Chapel are long and exciting, and this same vividness is apparent whenever the writing touches on any of the monumental sculptures, paintings and architectural experiments which appear to have constituted Michelangelo's life. It is an impressive record of achievement.