The essays in this collection examine the history of government support for the arts. Whether the government should aid the arts is not addressed, but the book delves into topics ranging from artistic freedom to the decentralization of arts funding. The opening chapter, written by political scientist Milton C. Cummings Jr., presents a useful overview showing that recent controversies like those concerning Robert Mapplethorpe have historical precedent. Academics in a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, arts administration, and sociology, closely examine the genuine controversies within a broad spectrum of issues: the kinds of art education children should receive, how government can effectively support individual artists, the implications of providing more federal art funds to the states, and whether government should help achieve cultural democracy. Overall, a lucid presentation on a timely subject. Highly recommended for most li* braries.-- Gary D. Barber, SUNY at Fredonia Lib.