R. L. Duffus, a member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times, is the author of the autobiographical Williamstown Branch and The Waterbury Record. This book about his apprenticeship as a reporter on the San Francisco Bulletin is a ""memoir in autobiographical form"", intended, he says, as a tribute to the man who sustained The Bulletin as a crusading newspaper, Fremont Older. The Tower of Jewels is also a tribute to the San Francis co of pre-World War I days, a city which inspired, and, sometimes, dismayed Duffus and his young friends (one of whom was a high school teacher named Maxwell Anderson) but which totally captured their loyalities and their sentiments. Duffus recalls the kinds of stories the Bulletin covered, the assignments which overawed him as a cub, and the attitudes of the avowedly pessimistic but basically humanitarian Older, who, as managing editor, gave his youthful editorial writer a free rein -- in spite of the determined Republican prejudicies of the publishers. He describes the premises of those editorials: a kind of homespun democratic American idealism which saw very clearly, then, who were villains and who were heroes. This was far easier to do, Duffus thinks, in an age of innocence and sentiment, especially if the writer had at his command the wisdom of twenty-four years. His book is wistful, nostalgic and sentimental but he writes with such genuine feeling that no one could object. There will be a special San Francisco publication.