It is no easy task to write readably about John Q. His was an exciting role at a chaotic time in American history, but Adams' sobersided, doggedly dutiful approach to his life and his official responsibilities makes him a difficult subject. Mr. Hoyt, whose Lost Statesmen and Commodore Vanderbilt provided him with more histrionic situations, has managed to present an even, balanced portrait of Adams in relation to his times. By filling in the necessary political and historical background, Adams emerges here as a front runner in political thought, always in advance of the contemporary scene whether as ambassador or President, respected but never popular. An excellent background biography which explains as much about how and why our government developed certain patterns as it does of the man.