An open, leisurely and courteously candid autobiography of the hybridized Jacques Haussmann-John Houseman during the first 40 years of his life (World War II is the cut-off) in and around the American theatre after an initial debut as a very young man of letters on the edge of the Bloomsbury set. Houseman then came over here and during his short-lived marriage to Zita Zohann wrote his first play with her which marked his entree into this world -- first via the Group Theater, later the Theater Guild, the Negro Theater, and the WPA. But it is his close association with Orson Welles which provides the second and strongest act of this book -- Welles the exciting, exhausting, sui generis genius to whom Houseman was alternately adviser, impresario, father, friend, and collaborator in the Mercury Theater enterprise ""bounded North and South by hope, East and West by nerve,"" and launched with the success of Orson's Julius Caesar. Houseman was still with Wells in and out of radio (War of the Worlds) and Hollywood (Citizen Kane) although here, as did Pauline Kael, credit is restituted to Herman Mankiewicz to whom this last section is dedicated. By then the collaboration which had barely survived one disastrous scene is about over. All of this is well and generously remembered and a great many people walk in the wings with him -- Marc Blitzstein, Vergil Thomson, Richard Wright, Leslie Howard -- whom you've almost but not quite forgotten.