A concentrated study of the intellectual life of Henry Adams seems- in the light of the Education pure impudence, but it may prove to be one of the perennial revitalizing tasks of American scholarship. The man surely lends himself to constantly new interpretation, and his dryly comic, regretful, bemused, doubting, shyly observant mind- like no other force within the national genius- backons and challenges. Levenson's own predilection is for the analysis of Adams in relation to his writings- his poetry, fiction, historical works, anthropological attempts, correspondence, and of course the Education itself. This textual method, if demanding, pays off. One discovers in Adams new sequences of logic and personality, unsuspected talents of perception (as an amateur artist, for example) and social criticism. He becomes a bolder, prouder figure as the images of the overdutiful son and fumbling professor recedes.