Adlai Stevenson's meaning to American politics will be the occasion for many books of interpretation and assessment, and this book is one of several this fall. Among other reasons, we are fascinated by Stevenson because his life exemplified one of the great dilemmas of our time--that America doesn't hasten to call forth its natural leaders, men of talent and preparation, to lead the nation. This recognition is at least as old as the bitter words of Henry Adams asking after the role that should be played by an Adams in a civilization that had become moneyed, corrupt and easy in its virtue. Davis' biography is as much an appreciation as a disciplined inquiry into the sources that turned out a man with the endowments and liabilities of a Stevenson. One feels more confident with his treatment of the earlier years than with the account of Stevenson's later career as titular leader of his party and U.N. ambassador under Kennedy and Johnson. Although no new light is thrown on the part Stevenson played in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the author's interpretation of Stevenson's motivations seem truer than in other works. Future biographies will build on this one and the author is to be complimented for the prodigious labor required to come to terms with this great figure.