A well grounded work on the political party attempts to answer the key causal question: why has very recent history given us so few nations with legal opposition parties? After a brief preface of definitions, the book leaves theory for an examination of selected western democracies; their parliamentary histories, voting data by class and religion, and the probable future of their multi-and biparty systems. The pros and cons of ""consensus politics"" are particularly well explored in respect to the American, British and Swedish systems. The Swedish author describes party politics in Sweden as one of ""stable dead-lock,"" a position which may have its applicability in the United States and United Kingdom. Where many books provide only sketchy information, this collection is invaluable for its treatment of the origin and current workings of political parties.