Sound critical analysis for the Kipling student market in which the author replies to the critics. Actually, the substance of the book adds little to previous biographies, but the author concentrates primarily on controversial aspects, biographically and critically speaking, and in the main defends Kipling. An analysis of the three major early phases of Kipling's life: his unhappy childhood in Southsea, his stormy clash with literary London, and the tragic-comedy of his American adventure. Underneath it all he reveals the Kipling that secretly smarted under public spotlight. The last section of the book is a cautious, sensible discussion of Kipling's style -- though not its development -- a cataloguing of his periods and characteristics. At times he seems sketchy and allusive -- sometimes he indulges in conjecture -- in the main it is substantial analysis.