This unpretentious book by one of America's foremost historians, author of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, etc., U.S. Naval Historian in World War II, and 1963 recipient of the Balzan Award for History, consists of six essays or chapters on widely divergent subjects. Chapter I, Receiving the Balsan Award, is an informal account of the author's experiences in Rome when he was given the Award; Chapter II, Experiences and Principles of an Historian, tells of his training as an historian, his theories on the writing of history, and some of his experiences as Naval Historian in the South Pacific. Life in the Old Colony in the 17th Century, the longest and possibly the best chapter in the book, gives an excellent description of the tiny colony of New Plymouth, Mass., before it was swallowed up by the larger Massachusetts Bay Colony. The other three chapters are: The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, on the achievements of America's irst ""universal genius""; The Peace Convention. February, 1861, an account of a last-minute effort to avert the Civil War; Battle off Saman, October 26, 1944, a description of one of the author's head-on encounters with naval history in the making. Not to be compared in importance with many of the author's previous works, this pleasant book will appeal to both writers and readers of history, and will provide excellent bedside reading for historically-minded insomniacs.