Warren Harding & Friends--in 44 quick vaudeville turns. After his timely death, Harding's follies inspired various satirical-to-scurrilous works; but Mee, the author of Meeting at Potsdam, The End of Order, etc., hasn't the style to pull off the Damon Runyon-ish burlesque he's aiming at. Not that, today, Harding's flashy, pocket-lining friends or the notorious poker games on H Street rate more than a snort: we've known it all for a long, long time. (The book is based on the standard bios.) And when Mee shifts to Harding's amatory escapades, he, could be writing for the old Cosmopolitan: ""she was warm and sensual, with quick, sometimes unpredictable passions, an exciting woman, an emotional adventure that might lead anywhere, a young woman full of wishes about the world beyond Marion, full of dreams, and, above all, full of a thousand ardent passions."" (No end of passion, seemingly.) There's also a feeble, one-note attempt at psychological definition--because of his suspect dark skin, Harding ""spent his life trying to get in, to blend with the crowd""--borrowed, like much else here (as Mee acknowledges), from Francis Russell's The Shadow of Blooming Grove. A thin conceit, strained and very stale.