The career of John Quincy Adams spans the first fifty years of our nation's history and from this viewpoint, the biography is worth reading. Students of history can follow the intricate acts of diplomacy sponsored by our new government, the clash between Federalists and Republicans, the emergence of the Democrats from a split in Republican ranks. However, the biography itself, as rendered by Mary Hoehling, is too idealized and uncritical to create a realistic portrait. One cannot quarrel with the author's skill in research as each aspect of Adams' career is recorded from his boyhood at Braintree, his assignments all over Europe in the role of diplomat, his work as Secretary of State and his final ascent to the Presidency. The details of his personal life are also duly recorded. Though many vital changes took place between the leadership of Washington and Lincoln (the years that John Quincy Adams served his country) this book is more a eulogy to its hero than a dynamic and human appraisal.