Miss Winwar has attacked the American scene with the same faculty for revivifying a period and a man that she used so successfully in Poor, Splendid Wings and Oscar Wilde and the Yellow Nineties, her two best books to date. She knows how to give a here and now feeling, so that the reader goes along, lost in the illusion of sharing the experiences, living against the background. Here in this life of Walt Whitman one gets a fully rounded portrait of the man, a deepened understanding of his work, and a thorough comprehension of how both were the inevitable outgrowth of his period, a period which compassed the Jackson administration on through the Civil War. One has a sense of pervading vitality -- no ""good gray poet"" here. Politics, transcendentalism, smouldering bitterness which led to the war- all part of the setting. Excerpts from his writings are basic to the biography. She skirts the moot problems of the sexual aspects of his life- seeing him somehow idealized in his relation to these problems.