This is a selection of Murray Kempton's columns written for the New York Post during the past 12 years. The book is divided into 8 sections, or ""lessons"" he has learned in the school of journalism as a labor reporter. In addition to his columns on the condition of the unions and some of their more outrageous corruptors there are articles on the McCarthy episodes and other aberrations of the ""absurd right""; the elections of 1956 and 1960; the civil rights movement; notes from a European visit and on Khrushchev's visit here; and on the punishments we have devised for our latter day Communists. Murray Kempton is by now such a recognized moral authority that even the girls at Mademoiselle listen. But his columns have date lines and no one can say he played it safe. His method is personal and he dramatizes incidents through characters representative of ""the way we live now"". The method has its faults: it sometimes makes small things seem large but even when Kempton is not at his best he still remains superior to his less inspired colleagues. He is a sophisticate with a novelist's eye and a sadly ironic sense of disillusionment. The collection of these articles is as much a literary event as a journalistic enterprise.