Unequal parts Zen master and svengali, virtuoso and fraud, Andy Warhol stormed the art world and America hasn't been the same since - for better or worse. The Factory was the hub of the Warhol constellation, serving as a meeting place for musicians, artists, and the freaks Warhol dubbed "superstars." Stephen Shore came of age at the Factory, and his photographs of Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Gerard Malanga, and the Velvet Underground are crucial for die-hard Warhol buffs. For the rest of us, it's iffy. The photos range from journalistic snapshots to fine portraits. In good Warholian fashion, Lynne Tillman's interviews with friends and scenesters are heavily trivial with occasional inspiration. Warhol's effect on his intimates was profound, but neither his painting nor this book support their claims of his genius. The Velvet Years casts a lucid light on these times without dispelling Warhol's cloud of vagueness and mystery. The pictures of a young, innocent-looking Lou Reed are a hoot, though.