Apparently (astonishingly!) every general adult book on American lighthouses and their lore is out of print, including Adamson's 1955 book of this title--which gives particular importance to Mr. Carse's similarly wide-ranging if less systematic perusal. From the first installations on the New England coast and their responsibility for rescue, he reaches back to the Pharos and early English beacons, then wanders along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts and inland to the Mississippi and the Great Lakes (where ice-breakers enter). Incorporated are anecdotes of courage and endurance and occasional dereliction, pointers on recognition (a distinct light pattern, a distinct day-mark effect), data on the development of lamps and on materials and manner of lighthouse construction, reports on what life was like for the old-time keepers and their families and on how (boring) it is for the Coast Guardsmen today. The new Ambrose Light Station gets particular attention, and with it the plan to establish two-way shipping lanes at the entrances to major harbors; there's also a discussion of sand and sea as a threat to shorelines. Coverage of the whole country distinguishes this from Mary Ellen Chase's The Story of Lighthouses and both are more interesting than Mina Lewiton's Lighthouses of America. Mr. Carse, a veteran sailor (Early American Boats among many others), is a knowledgeable, appreciative guide for enthusiasts of all ages.