Lippmann argues ""hopefully and wistfully"" for rational inquiry into those conditions by which a good society may be reconstituted in order to halt the descent into violence and tyranny. He thinks there are world citizens who believe in the tenets of ""the public philosophy"", once basic to our democracy, and now almost forgotten. For action to this end there must be belief. And to recover this belief he explores the decline of the West- and the public philosophy. He has sensed the sickness of democracy, and the steps by which it was acquired, the extent to which it has threatened the public interest. In this process he studies the problem of the executive dominated by the legislative- concern of our founders, and of critics then and now. In the derangement of the primary functions of government he sees the democratic disaster of our century, an acceptance of the Jacobin doctrine of enfranchisement by displacement of the governing class. He feels that the democracies are ceasing to receive the traditions of civility, and are thereby cut off from a public philosophy. But he feels it still survives as a positive doctrine, that there still are obligations binding on all men:- the theory of property, freedom of speech, etc. Such a restoration as he envisions aims to resist and regulate desires and opinions -- an unpopular program, but necessary to survival of democracy. He challenges our teachers to return to the great tradition. Not an easy book to read and digest. Perhaps Lippmann's name will spark the interest.