The name Horatio Alger immediately brings to mind the terms: ""The American Dream"", the rise from rags to riches, the American success story. The American Dream is based on the thesis that the United States is a place where anyone, no matter what this origins, no matter how poor he may be, can rise to fame and fortune. Alger helped implant this dream in the nation's consciousness through his many books. With one exception in each book a young, poor boy through fortuitous circumstances manages to rise above his station. Alger had a large and devoted public because he continually held before each of his readers the hope for success. He combined exotic background with simple wish fulfillment in terms anyone with an eighth-grade education could understand. His own life story seems like a case history from an analyst's files. After an extremely unusual childhood, he was reared for the ministry. He rebelled, just before graduation from Harvard Divinity School, fled to Europe with two friends and a year later returned to America to write. His life was replete with the fortuitous circumstances found so often in his books. The first biography-critique in forty years of the man whose works had such a lasting popularity is appropriately popular in nature.