Editor, publisher, multi-millionaire, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. was the terror of New York's Gilded Age, the talk of neo-Napoleonic Paris; he was also an enormously entertaining eccentric as biographer Richard O'Connor records in a justly juicy and jubilant account. Although dowagers detested him, Bennett grew up the playboy of Park Row, made the Union Club, got salaams at Maxim's, went hanky-pankying with Trouville royalty, was often as outrageous as he was foolhardy: at the posh party of the fiancec he never married, he piddled at and once almost backed an editorial headed To Hell With The Pope. As Commodore Bennett he sailed a palatial yacht like a Katzen- Jammer sultan, wining and with the best; as Boss Bennett he'd hire and fire at the drop of a cable, declaiming ""I will have no indispensable men in my employ"". But he sent Stanley to Africa to find Livingstone, DeLong to the Arctic, Richard Harding Davis to cover the Spanish-American War; he played the whipcracking ringmaster of a journalistic circus like nothing known before or since; his papers were the greatest of their day. On a lifetime of exclusives and whoopee, Bennett spent a cool 40 million; his biographer here wraps it all up in a gay, gamy gift package.