This work by noted Trinidadian Marxist social critic James was written in 1950 as a kind of extended prospectus for the book he hoped to write but never finished. As edited by academics Grimshaw and Hart, this overview becomes a powerful polemic on the possibilities of American democracy. The analysis is unusual in its emphasis on the concept of ``happiness,'' a state of being that is most likely to be realized in the United States. While James ( The Black Jacobins , 1963; Minty Alley , 1971) recognizes the forces of authoritarianism in America--especially the power of corporations--he nonetheless is positive about American life. His discussion of the powerful and generally beneficial role of popular culture in the United States is particularly insightful. Although choppy in places, this is a fascinating book; highly recommended for most libraries.-- Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.