Few shafts of light have penetrated the carefully constructed facades of America's numerous, powerful, and exceedingly wealthy tax-exempt foundations,"" but this expansion of a Ph.D. dissertation had the blessing of the officers of the Fund for the Republic, who made available their half-ton of partly burned and water-soaked records, which the author agreed to restore while he pursued his research. What emerges is not so much a study with general applications of the role of a tax-exempt foundation in a democratic society but a specific examination of how this particular outfit embarked upon an effort of research and education in the field of civil liberties and civil rights during the ""Age of Suspicion."" A 1952 offshoot of the Ford Foundation endowed eventually with $15 million, a position of independence, and a set of prominent directors, the Fund languished at first without full-time leadership, picked up some steam under the brief presidency of Sen. Clifford Case, and moved into full throttle under the guidance of Robert Hutchins. Reeves portrays him almost as a demigod, with the requisite boldness to confront and survive the attacks of ultraconservative ""patriotic"" enemies both in and outside. Congress and the active hostility of right-wing journalists during the late McCarthy-early Eisenhower era. Although its late arrival on the scene, the slow implementation of its programs, the time-consuming nature of its studies, and the limits of its tax-exempt status prevented a direct response to many of the worst excesses of McCarthyism, the Fund performed valuable services in hastening reforms, providing important information, and promoting discussion of issues. Among its most significant studies were those on blacklisting, integrated housing, and the intimidation of teachers; a present project is the center for the study of Democratic Institutions. Like most dissertations, only for those with a specific interest in the subject.