Twenty centuries of central European cultural development are crammed into this ponderous book's 62 chapters. Practically everything social, economic, domestic, agricultural, romantic, or scientific that ever happened in the Danube Valley before 1922 is chronicled here in liberal detail. Lessner's work is so complete that an index is to be provided. If used as a textbook in colleges, it would probably take students at least two semesters of concentrated study to absorb all the fascinating sidelights and counter-plots woven in among the central themes of military, religious, and political history. Lessner's thorough-going scholarship has enabled him to contrive a virtually limitless source of data for those who seek to trace the origins of current matters and problems whether European or extra- Continental. The Hungarian Revolt of 1956 plays no part in the book's action, of course, but its spectre lurks behind every word. Ann M. Lingg, known across the country to 60,000 subscribers as a contributor to Opera News magazine, collaborated with her husband to produce this long but well- written volume.