A gentle, loosely organized portrait of small and resolute Lincoln, Massachusetts, by the author of The Pursuit of Wilderness (1971) and House of Life (1972), a well-received biography of Rachel Carson. In a low-keyed mixture of history and reminiscence, Brooks traces the development of a durable community--and not incidentally pursues his continuing concern with ecology. Lincoln, an offshoot of neighboring Concord, achieved independent status in 1754; sent some 75 men to the Battle of Lexington; weathered the decline of New England agriculture and the influx of non-WASP immigrants. Over the years, despite the spreading tentacles of Boston, the town somehow preserved the best features of the original Puritan approach to the use of land--an approach so conscientious and intelligently thought out that Lincoln's resources were not seriously strained until the early 20th century. Even in an age of fearsomely growing taxes, sanity and suburbia amazingly continue to coexist through town ownership of open meadows, wetlands, and wooded areas carefully acquired in accord with the recommendations of a Conservation Commission. Brooks' quiet, rambling tribute to his home of forty years suggests that the ancient town image is tough enough to hold its own for a while; his Lincoln stands as an incarnation of New England good sense and an object lesson in the community aspects of ecology.