Some two decades of reporting for the N. Y. Times are the basis of this analysis of the qualities, institutions and actions that have made up recent British history. In sections devoted to the monarchy, an enduring, reassuring anachronism; the parliamentary system, efficient and flexible; the two great parties; the quiet changes; the society shifts; the commonwealth and Britain in the world; the paradox of the strong but weak connections with the U. S.; the recovery of its economy after the war and its current status; British character and how it is expressed; -- he breaks down the picture of Merrie England and replaces it with material to take away a dangerous lack of understanding, to fill in the faults as well as the strengths, and to build up the reasons for a continued transatlantic U.S. English alliance. It's an over-all report that is solid in its investigation, written with an eye for the little incident and individual as well as the larger issues and more outstanding personalities, and effects a worthwhile informed study. Good reading, too.