A punch-card chronicle without selectivity, emphasis or inflection -- and therefore with none of the attraction of Milton Lomask's or Edwin Hoyt's portrayals. As per the chapter headings, the range is from the homely to the prosaic to the posturing: ""Johnny Carries the News,"" ""Teen Age,"" ""Work and Play,"" ""Duty and Beauty,"" ""Louisa (Mrs. A) Discovers America,"" ""Louisa's Ride,"" ""Light and Shadow."" The writing is sometimes coy (""It was a likeness of him at his most handsome, his idealistic features hopeful and confident, a young man of promise -- and furthermore promised in marriage""), sometimes confusing: the lack of transitions is one impediment, the juxtaposition of trivia and matters of great moment is another. The general want of clear-cut exposition is particularly felt apropos of the mainsprings of the Monroe Doctrine and the maneuvers attending Adams' election to the Presidency, critical episodes both: only his tenacity in upholding the right to petition in the House of Representatives stands forth unmistakably, the Amistead case, for instance, being reduced to pathos and panegyric. Humdrum at best, and fortunately dispensable.