This latest gathering of Mr. Crossman's essays differs from his Charm of Politics in that it deals primarily with the ideas rather than the people of his public career. The author has been a Labor MP since the end of WW II, but his ""real political life was lived in Smith Square""--the home of the Party's policy-makers, the twenty-six man National Executive Committee. It is this that gives the volume its special interest for American readers. The collection begins with a piece dated 1938 on ""The Theory and Practice of British Freedom,"" but the rest of the articles were composed during the thirteen years in the ""wilderness"" when Labor was out of power in the 1950's and '60's. The fourteen remaining essays, divided as they are into two sections headed ""Rethinking Socialism"" and ""Problems of the Cold War,"" provide an excellent and unusual opportunity to observe the inner developments of Labor policies, domestic and foreign. They also comprise a splendidly candid and readable version of the crucial argument ""between the means of socialism--public ownership and centralized planning, for example--and the enlargement of individual freedom which is its end.