This is the first survey of the House of Representatives, its history and inner machinery, to have been attempted with the needs of the general reader in mind. It is the kind of history that remembers to be entertainingly gossipy and anecdotal while it is being factual and instructive. Its explanations of the admittedly complicated structure of the House are not made in a vacuum, but olstered by examples of what happens (and has happened) within living memory as well as from snatches of the record that have been disinterred. In order to over the enormous territory and cast that the subject presents, the author has organized his material into 16 chapters. Thus, the evolution of the House Rules is all together, as is the material on the Speakers of the House and that of the relationship of the House to the Senate. The discussion of the proliferation of House committees is valuable to the extent that it puts the committee function in perspective without going into a welter of detail. Mr. MacNeil, a Time taffer, also makes the essential point about the amount and importance of the behind-the-scenes activity that brings legislation to the public arena of the Floor. (The analysis also measures the concomitant personal power that this private approach to public matters carries with it.) Short excerpts from Floor debate dot the book and add to its immediacy. Consistently well written, timely and necessary.