A big book whose real worth would make it medium sized at best. And this must be said even though its author is David Riesman, one of the most fruitful minds over to flourish in the tangled gardens of sociology. But oh! If he'd only done some runing. These essays- a number of which are collaborative projects- range over the last ten years or so and touch upon the related problems of the cold war, of national affluence, of mass communication, and of the methodology of social inquiry. Thus a great deal of the material is quite, topical, almost all of it is psychologically respectable. Riesman's constant search for ulterior motives introduces some concepts of challenge and consequence, especially when Riesman delves into that agonizing shambles of pre-nuclear and post- nuclear thinking which has so divided Washington and various centers of learning. Riesman's politics appear rather radical in the sense of the rethinking he advocates, but his appraisals of TV and suburbia are generally and surprisingly a shade sanguine, even acknowledging some of his uneasy speculations concerning leisure and industrial incongruities. There remains the circum-locutionary style which vitiates the impact and the long, long pages of details.