There is a certain light touch (perhaps a finger on a telegraph key?) to this biography Samuel F. B. Morse, painter and inventor, but the vital facts of his life are present in adequate detail. Boyhood experiences in school and college set the scene for the development of his character- independent and unconventional- and his ambition- to be a great painter of Americana. As he studies in Europe, struggles at home and lives through the death of his wife, there is warmth to the story. Though the sense of frustration, through the years it took him to succeed with the telegraph, is glossed over by a casual style, the portrait of him is at least companionable if not deep.