Books on the councils of the Church are multiplying as the October opening of the Second Vatican Council nears. (Most recent are Archbishop Jaeger's The Ecumenical Council, the Church and Christendom -- supplement p. 103- and Hans Kung's The Council. Reform and Reunion -- supplement p. 1118.) Their approaches are distinctive. The new book from the prolific writer Henri Daniel-Rops is that, too. This volume on the Council is the first by a layman who is recognized as a scholar (general editor of the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism) and has a reputation for clarity and conciseness. In The Second Vatican Council he cuts through the technical verbiage so characteristic of ecclesiastical books. Essentially it is a popular history of the Councils with a philosophical flavor, mildly critical in its evaluations, and easy to read. The form he employs is to answer questions stated as topical headings, for example, ""Council and the Pope in Conflict?"". The answers he gives are honest. In the fashion of the encyclopedia, he states what most people want to know and then stops. Among the books on the Council this will receive considerable attention from a following which will accept it for its temperate but straightforward presentation and responsible scholarship.