Subtitle: ""A Caustic History of British Socialism from Marx to Wilson."" Author: the noted foe of bureaucracy, bigness, and overtaxation; an admirer of Herbert Spencer and a mourner of lost imperial glories. As usual on matters of fact, when he is right he is quite right--about the defects of a ""mixed"" economy, the drab and narrow aims of British trade unions, the staleness of Labour Party platforms. When he is wrong, he is outrageous--apart from sweeping historical errors, his conceptual howlers include confusing a classless society with a paternalistic, equal-opportunitied one. And his central arguments depend on equating ""socialism"" with the British welfare-state tradition, then syllogizing away, toward invalid conclusions about both. Much space devoted to the Webbs, so little to other main figures that Parkinson must be disingenuous here, not stupid-pulling the legs of the American readers who will swell his audience. They may be charmed by his cheerful arrogance and surface plausibility...or put off by the accumulation of straw men built up with a non sequitur and knocked down by an epigram.