Even if Adlai Stevenson were not to be nominated, this biography, written by his sister, would stand as an eloquent portrait, and a warm picture of upper class American life. Here is no ""glitter and the gold"" -- but a sound, appreciative, fundamentally American family, with roots deep in the mid West to which their forbears had come, with staunch American principles, sturdy economic foundations, ideals of culture, education, civic responsibility. From this background Adlai Stevenson comes, and his sister has written straightforwardly of their growing up years in Bloomington, Illinois, of his personality in process of growth, of schooling and first interest in politics, of public service- Washington and overseas and in the budding United Nations. Then came the challenge to run for Governor of his home state, the campaign, the term of office with its memorable achievements. And -- in final chapters- the nomination- unsought- as Democratic candidate; the campaign; the dignity in defeat. Throughout, there are nice anecdotes, human slants on a personality that has won worldwide admiration, extracts from speeches and writings. Not important on the score of biographical writing, but effortless and pleasant reportage. The market now will rest largely on the renewed interest in Adlal Stevenson. Tie in with the new collection of his speeches, What I Think, reviewed on p. 876.