To succeed at politics, one must realize that power comes to those who are smart and quick enough to grab it. Smith ( The Russians , LJ 9/15/76) relies primarily on anecdotes and case studies from the Reagan era to illustrate how the use of power determines the effectiveness of government. He brilliantly relates how structural changes in the political environment have created a new breed of largely unaccountable video politician. His Washington is a "city of cocker spaniels" whose government officials need constant approval and membership in ever-changing alliances to flourish. Potentially the political book of the year; highly recommended. Karl Helicher, Wolfsohn Memorial Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.