Novelist (Live with Lightning) and scientist (assistant to Enrico Fermi in cosmic ray research), Mitchell Wilson lives up to his qualifications for writing and compiling a stupendous pictorial history of American science and invention from the early traders to the ""New Dimension"" of electronics and the chain reaction. In words and an abundance (1,200) of well chosen photographs and reprints to illustrate, the outline of the book is as follows: ""Giants in the Wilderness"" deals with the seamen and the craftsmen and depicts Franklin, Thompson and Priestley as they furthered the new science. ""The Shock of Freedom"" saw further expeditions of discovery, the steamboat, the work of Oliver Evans, Whitney and the first successful factory. With the legend of American perfectability underlying the following decades such varied men and deeds as the naturalists and their reporting, the discovery of anesthesia, Morse and the telegraph, Charles Goodyear, and the gold rush- to dominate and foment and to precede the Civil War. War inventions followed but they in turn were followed by ""The New Era"" with its more peaceful notables- Eastman, Westinghouse, Bell, Edison- and- mass production. With the turn of the century came ""The Last Individualists""- Millikan, the Wright Brothers etc.- precursors to a modern age now hanging in the balance of chaos or salvation. The relation too, of the American material to its international causes and effects as well as to the personalities of its creators enhances the value of a commemorative documentary.