The author warns us not to expect either a general theory or a political history of democracy here, but rather ""an attempt to evaluate the democratic idea, with particular reference to the American experience, in the light of its relevance for our times"". In point of fact, however, what he offers is a smattering of theory and history, with practically nothing in the way of meaningful evaluation. The first half of this slim volume consists of quotations weakly laced together by a tender thread of text; the second half consists of quotations arranged alphabetically by author, without the benefit--or hindrance--of such lacing. The quotations are mostly good, and those which are not too terribly familiar are at least intriguing; but the number of them is far too small for the choice to seem more than arbitrary, just as the author's own contributions are too brief for either originality or justice to any dimension of the subject. But after all, given this little space and this subject, no one could be blamed for failing--merely for trying; it must have been like attempting to paint Mt. Everest on the head of a pin.