A savvy description of how the system of presidential elections is designed and works. Though primarily concerned, as Wayne (Government/Georgetown) notes, ``with facts, not opinions; with practice, not theory,'' it offers a great deal of wisdom as well. Wayne organizes his study--his fourth in a quadrennial series- -into four main parts, the first dealing with the electoral system, campaign finance, and the political environment; the second and third with delegate selection, nominating conventions, and the general election (including organization, strategy, tactics, and the projection and targeting of candidate images); and the fourth with the election and beyond, by exploring its implications for the government and for our political system. Much of this will be familiar to well-informed readers, but much may not, and many of Wayne's conclusions are interesting and even surprising: that primary voters do not tend to be more ideologically extreme than the average party voter; that when media coverage is critical, presidential incumbents do tend to receive more of that coverage than their challengers--Carter more than Reagan in 1980, Reagan more than Mondale in 1984; and that there is not much evidence that early election projections discourage voters on the West Coast from going to the polls. Wayne concludes that there is some evidence, however, that a gradual partisan realignment may be occurring, but it is, he says, less meaningful than the one that took place in the 1930's. A judicious, thoughtful overview, drawing on some of the best analyses that have been done on American elections.