Ross, a prolific biographer, has a good story to work with (remember When the Cheering Stopped), but it collapses into phlegmatically recounted trivia in which the decisive events of the century sink without a trace. Hats, gowns, orchids, wars, treaties, ambassadors--it's all the same to Ross. ""Edith Wilson waited with an unaccustomed sense of tension for the drama at Versailles."" ""Not to be outdone by the fashionable Parisian women, she wore a stunning new gown from Worth's, a heavy black charmeuse. . . ."" ""Edith alone seemed to give Woodrow constant comfort and reassurance, even in moments of disorientation."" And for Wilson's funeral, ""arrangements went forward for a quiet service at S Street and burial at the cathedral, with Edith close to the breaking point."" Dull and disappointing; even the title is misleading since Miss Ross doesn't seriously take up Edith Bolling Galt's story until she met the President--leaving the previous forty-three years very hazily accounted for. For an elderly and undemanding readership.