John Ledyard, American traveler and visionary, whose dreams outlived his times, is here drawn not for his achievements but for the inspiration he aroused. His personal argosy, from Croton, Connecticut, to rebellion at Dartmouth, his voyage with Capt. Cook on his last vain effort to find the Northwest Passage, his futile years trying to prove the importance of American settlement on the Pacific Coast ending in his long, poverty-stricken trip from London to Russia on foot. There in Irkutsk he was arrested, and when released was still determined to reach Nootka Sound. But he was forced to accept a commission to explore Africa instead. There he died. His story gathers pace and interest as his evil star and the temper of his times blasts his hopes ... A brilliant observer, a good anthropologist, a curious genius, Ledyard's history represents the cracking of the Colonial shell, a new trend in our life as a young nation. He fired Jefferson's expansion policies -- too late to share their success. Interpretative high-lighting, at times a shade too much guide-posting, this nevertheless contributes a striking picture of a wanderer whose life brought him the data -- but not the acclaim -- he wished.