The appearance of Tamara Hovey's John Reed coincides with that of a significant new adult biography (see Rosenstone's Romantic Revolutionary, in this issue). And her scaled-down portrait compares respectably, though of course there's much less detail on the Masses/Village bohemian milieu where Reed first came to prominence, on his development as a poet, and on his relationships with women. . . especially his liaison with Mabel Dodge. Hovey concentrates on Reed the journalist and war correspondent; yet while his inner conflict between ""serious"" writing and activism, a major theme for Rosenstone, is barely visible here, Hovey captures Reed's personal flair, his tenacity as a reporter, and his role as a sort of political bellwether, one enthusiastic step ahead of his more cautious associates. Nor does Hovey repeat the wellworn but groundless story that Reed became bitterly disillusioned with radicalism and the Soviet Union before his death. Lively and workmanlike.