This biography of the man who laid the Atlantic Cable gives both a personal history and an insight into the dynamics of the Gilded Age in which Field moved to the top, then fell from it. The New England minister's son who came to New York as a young man with all he had--(""all he ever had in fact...a keen and curious mind, an inextinguishable optimism,"") made his fortune in paper, then gain and an inordinate amount of drive, bled it all on the trans-Atlantic venture connecting England and America. (He was mortgaged up to his church pew.) Dubbed Lord Cable after its success (the only principal not officially honored by England for his participation, and the only American), Field turned to investments such as the elevated railroad which in turn brought him into disastrous association with speculators and dealers in destruction such as Gould and Sage. Despite his acumen and ebullience, he had met his match, lost his money and died a man broken by monetary and familial concerns. Carter underwrites his hero all the way, certain of his moral fiber, and the vision of the lion in winter is moving. His book deals essentially with the ventures that were so vital to Field; family portraits and close-ups are peripheral, analysis at the minimum. Field could not have asked for a more sympathetic biographer.