Marquis James uses his real gift as biographer for an institutional biography of the founder and the company that bears his name, leader in the import-export trade. A brilliant career, in business and politics, had its beginnings when Grace left Ireland as a boy to seek fortune in Peru. At 23 he was partner in a ship chandlery. A hard worker and financial genius, Grace soon had control of the company, with his brothers as associates. From the New York headquarters, W. R. Grace & Co. was built into a formidable empire, opened the west coast of South America, helped Peru finance its railroads and rebuild its financial structure. At home he became known as a generous contributor to Catholic charities, an outstanding reform mayor of New York, a power in state and national politics. A kind, intelligent man emerges from this record, which for the most part concentrates on the founding and building of a tremendous business house. Not as limited in interest as the author's Metropolitan Life; perhaps the subject has more glamor.