Mr. Shea, president for 20 years of the Milton Bradley Company of Springfield, Mass., tells the story of the founder, the business, its vicissitudes and its products, to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Milton Bradley, draftsman, with 8 generations of New Englanders behind him, first worked for a railroad car manufacturing company, produced lithographs of Lincoln, indulged in patents, and found in his ""Checkered Game of Life"" a market for skill that bypassed gambling. The Civil War took all of his pocket games; Elizabeth Peabody's work in kindergartens drew him into educational equipment and toys; and he fostered more and more diversions. This is perhaps the book's best section in its recall of the cultural, social and educational needs that Bradley found answers for. The further financial and economic aspects are to be expected but even here the way in which games are originated, the growth of learning aids, the impossibility of predicting the popularity of board games, should have an interest for a bigger market than most business histories. An odd ball in the biographical field, this hits home, and family, school and country in its course.