The sophisticated crackerbarrel twang that marked Tolman's account of his family life in New England (North of Monadock, 1961) unfortunately mars his biography of General Nelson A. Miles (1839-1925). But this book is a disaster in several ways. The arduous search for Miles identity was not necessary. As even the Columbia Desk Encyclopedia notes, the general was illustrious: Union Civil War hero, star Indian fighter, troop commander in the Pullman Strike, squabbler With Presidents, and before and during the Spanish-American War commander-in-chief of the army. Eventually. Tolman found the general's three volumes of memoirs and set out on his running account. Midway through he seems--finally--to have discovered the military histories, V. W. Johnson's full-length biography The Unregimented General (1962), General Miles' heir, and the newspaper accounts, not that Tolman puts any of these sources to adequate historical use. The general, it seems, had a bad press, and the author takes time out from his story to make several swipes at yellow journalism. But on this point too, the book is hit and miss.