In this biography of the fabulous Southern politician, solider and humorist, Tucker's excellent scholarship never blunts his delight and enthusiasm for his subject. Nor does it dull his talent for revealing personalities. Zeb Vance is a whale of a subject for a biographer and Tucker does a devoted, full-scale job. When Vance spoke in the senate, the House Would grow deserted because all the Representatives wanted to hear his wit. Vance's humor on the Senate floor was basic barnyard, sprinkled with four-letter verbs which even today have not seen daylight in The Times. He could at once be so funny and so dead serious that he was almost universally respected as a raconteur and politician of the highest order. He was regarded as presidential timber, and might well have won that office but that he was so widely admired for his war record in the South. North Carolina elected him governor three times, and sent him to the Senate four times. In 1862 he supplied North Carolina's regiments with clothing and War gear, while keeping the population in food and industry. For this he became known as ""The War Governor of the South."" He was an assiduous student all his life (being born an a log cabin) and wrote two books about the Civil War. His story deserves substantial sales.