Groundwork -- background -- what you will, by way of a study of politics, through the ages, from the angle of the state encroachments on private matters and social problems. Mr. Nock differentiates sharply between the government and the state --that once mastered, his thesis proceeds to a logical end, a pretty conclusive condemnation of the State absorbing social power for its own economic fattening on social exploitation. Toward the close, and by implication throughout,he indicates his feelings as to a possible way to avoid the catastrophe toward which he believes we are heading. Mr. Nock is an astute, intelligent, well-informed and thoughtful commentator. The book is not sufficiently controversial to predetermine a wide market, but you might bracket it with the new Stuart Chase book as presenting different sides of a picture.