An excellent study of the history and evolution of the Lowell Institute of Boston and of the famous family which over the years pioneered in public lectures and adult education. The subject could hardly be called fascinating, but Edward Weeks has managed to trim the dull spots and provided a chronicle notable for its gentlemanly grace and exacting scholarship. There is an interesting opening chapter devoted to the adventurous overseas journey of the Institute's founder, John Lowell, Jr., incorporating many revealing passages from the young man's journal, ending with his untimely death at Bombay in 1836. His cousin, John Amory Lowell, the first Trustee, made the Institute operational, and its subsequent development was undertaken by Augustus Lowell, A. Lawrence Lowell, the well-known President of Harvard and brother of Amy, and Ralph Lowell, the current director. Matters of administrative policy, the claims of broadcasting in the post-war years, socio-cultural fluctuations in Boston, and summaries of important events (James delivered his Pragmatist talks at the Institute) are amply aired. A rewarding survey and tribute.