Brand Whitlock (1869-1934) certainly was a nice enough guy and he did lead a life of real value, carving himself a characteristically modest niche in history, but all this doesn't sustain 480 pages worth of biography. Whitlock's main achievements covered quite a respectable spectrum: writer of fact and fiction about the social issues of his time, conscientious lawyer, four-term reform Mayor of Toledo, Ohio, U.S. minister in Belgium at the start of W.W. I acclaimed for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of the civilian population. The unambitious Whitlock acquired a measure of national and international fame and was acquainted with and influenced by such luminaries of the day as Gov. John Peter Altgeld of Illinois, Mayor ""Golden Rule"" Jones of Toledo, Albert Jay Nock (non-hero of a 1964 Crunden biography), Clarence Darrow, and William Dean Howells. All in all a man of solid virtures but, at least in this account, little sparkle. For a long, quiet interlude, but don't try reading it if you're too tired.