In This Review

Westminster's World: Understanding Political Roles
Westminster's World: Understanding Political Roles
By Donald D. Searing
Harvard University Press, 1994, 498 pp

An excellent account of the different positions or, as the political scientist Searing insists, the different roles from which members of the House of Commons must choose. The book is based on interviews with 521 members of parliament, and when the voices are interpolated, the book gives a fascinating description of the life of the House and of members with their different responsibilities and tasks. A valuable, often amusing and even readable account of how the House of Commons performs its diverse and increasingly important functions. The book is saddled with excessive quantification, distracting theoretical ruminations and the occasional banal conclusion such as that ambitious M.P.s are more likely to rise to Cabinet posts. Still, this is a highly informative work, the result of a study of over two decades, with an impressive mastery of literature, both classical and contemporary. Anthony Trollope, sometimes cited, is more telling here than many contemporary theorists, who are all too often cited.