This is a rare, remarkable and brilliantly clear discussion of the essentials of contemporary American democracy- a subject that has needed just this kind of clarification. While the opening pages are a bit difficult, once past them the argument is succinctly and forcefully developed. The author deals with the most prevalent chronic complaints about conflict between theory and practice, and points up the urgent need to re-define the classic concept of what we mean by ""democracy"". Schattschneider, a professor of political science at Wesleyan (Connecticut), presents a most astute view of how we must regard our political system if we are to maintain it. Every effort should be made to press this analysis, for it gives, in the simplest possible terms, the means by which we may come to grips with the problems that beset us as a nation. ""Political research is never better than the theory of politics on which it is based"". We have been conditioned to accept certain theories which this writer maintains no longer operate. His theories as he develops them challenge our lazy thinking and stand head and shoulders above the usual pat statements of American democracy. Never have we needed to clarify our thinking as we do now. This should reach students from High School level on- citizen study groups- voters who need to know what they are voting for. Clear verbal guides to interpretation of diagrams (yet to be seen) help carry the substance of the text to the average reader. This is the kind of book that will reward individual reading and promoting by word of mouth.