This is a really great book—it’s not quite a biography, and not all the way about philosophy. Barzun frames it as the exploration of “an intellectual debt.” James is a fascinating subject and, as Barzun tells the story of his life and work, he carefully points out its modern implications. They are both excellent writers, so the charming directness of James’s quotes and the curmudgeonly Barzun’s commentary lead to a kind of banter between them. This is a stroll worth taking.