A chronicle of the private and public lives of Mercy Otis Warren, one of the first historians and poets of the new American republic, and her father. (James Otis) husband (James Warren) unstable brother (James Otis, Jr.) and friends of the Otises and Warrens. Fritz, who has written histories for juveniles, is an assiduous researcher and competent assembler; this germane but bland book, however, cries out for fuller use of primary sources, especially the Warrens' correspondence with John and Abigail Adams, and Mercy's own poetry and prose. A compensatory grasp of factions and issues is lacking, though the book records the external shifts in the alignments of Massachusetts politics. Though Mercy was an energetic satirist, the psychological side of her character emerges insufficiently. Her despair over her willful and favorite son is one of the more vivid elements of the book, along with the estrangement from the Adamses and 1812 reconciliation, the sympathetically rendered collapse of Governor Thomas Hutchinson in England, and Mercy's acquaintance with a more spectacular woman of letters, Catherine Macaulay. A period piece spanning almost a century whose circumstantialities might gently engage specialists, devotees, and researchers of American social history.