A veteran analyst of Italian politics describes its workings and cultural setting, concluding that "Italian democracy is alive and thriving"-a contention that is no longer particularly startling. In this highly readable study, LaPalombara, a political scientist at Yale, delights in the paradoxes of Italian political life; the illusions and the realities, the causes of apparent perpetual crisis and of the disguised stability which has effected important changes and achievements in the postwar period. There are many sub-themes: politics pervades Italian life, yet the populace has a dismissive, even contemptuous attitude toward politics-and 90 percent of the electorate goes to the polls. Italian democracy withstood political terrorism, which LaPalombara blames on its justification by intellectuals. Rich in detail, a pleasant and informative study.