The Adams Chronicles

by Jack Shepherd.Little, Brown, $17.50. Since this account of four generations of Adamses is “Presented in coordination with the Public Broadcasting Service television series of the same title,” controversial originality is not to be expected. Mr. Shepherd has made effective use of the ungodly mass of family papers; he presents the historical conditions under which the Adamses worked briskly and clearly; he does not sugar over cantankerous temperament and political misjudgment, nor sweep the less creditable members of the tribe under the rug. He does, in short, a sound, straightforward job, which is no small achievement when one considers that the job in question involves keeping track of twenty some people, variously occupied and often widely dispersed about the world, but all connected one way or another with over a century of major and frequently intricate historical events. Generous illustrations, bibliography, and index.