Albert Jay Nock, the editor and writer whose social and political iconoclasm so irritated his colleagues during the '20's and '30's, is the subject of Robert Crunden's irritating little study in the '60's. It's a thin and tiring attempt ""to portray a mind as it slowly discovers itself in the confrontation of the events of 35 years of history."" Slowly is right: page after page of shredded gentility, annointed with scholarly applesauce. And of Nock himself? The forerunner of some areas of today's intellectual right wingdom, he began as a Jeffersonian radical, then switched to anti-New Deal Jeffersonian conservatism. He founded The Freeman, the granddaddy of little mags, wrote Superfluous Man, a sort of underground classic, and biographies of Ward, Rabelais, Henry George, and of course Jefferson. He was an individualist, an anarchist, a hedonist, a classicist, and an educational reformer; his understanding of all these terms was characteristically idiosyncratic, thus he was much misunderstood or maligned. He sought the good life and an elitist ethos such as Arnold and Spencer. By WW II his pacifism made him thoroughly unpopular. He died in '45. This adversary of the masses, or of Fordismus, may indeed be every inch the heroic figure Crunden indicates; unfortunately he achieves no real stature here.