A well-paced and readable biography of Julia Ward Howe whose life, in addition to its own accomplishments, is of absorbing interest because of its associations with notable people and humanitarian causes during a long and important period in American history. The personal phases of her life, -- her girlhood in the fashionable world of old New York (she was born in 1819), and her happy marriage, are handled without much probing. Her associations with causes and people are portrayed skillfully. Abolition, international peace, women's rights, the founding of women's clubs -- these are a few of the movements with which she was associated, and the chapters teem with interesting people, encountered through her broad interests. The reader follows the spotlight effortlessly as it shifts from New York to Boston to Rome to London, to Civil War Washington, where The Battle Hymn of the Republic was written, and finally westward across the continent, on railroads that had come into being during Mrs. Howe's lifetime.