Seventeen Washington personalities reminisce with Congressman Moorhead's oh-so-committed wife about great parties they have known or thrown. The result is an exercise in free association; there is little to support historian Arthur Schlesinger's introductory claim that ""the sternest purpose lurks under the highest frivolity"" beyond Moorhead's assertion that a dinner she gave in 1968 changed the caurse of the Vietnam War. Despite years of dealing with the press, she has little sense of how to interview; a brief discussion with Rosalynn Carter yields more information about backyard barbecues during the Navy years than it does about White House entertaining. (Apropos of a State Dinner for Marshal Tito: ""Dinner is delicious and served efficiently by innumerable waiters""). Moorhead's ""you-are-there"" style is neither inspired nor overly grammatical (""Driving to Polly's, great Hocks of Canada geese honk overhead""). Lots of description of homes; a few heavy-handed tips (""Warning! Half an hour of music overtime if everyone is having a glorious time is usually enough""); a cast of famous characters (from Katharine Graham to Mrs. Averell Harriman to Elizabeth Taylor Warner), many of whom visit each other's chapters as part of the conversation. But the self-absorbed inbreeding never discloses the secrets of breeding.