Dr. Searle's book, first published in 1971, provides a lucid and important illumination of late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain focused through the theme of competitiveness and possible national decline which permeated so many fields of human activity and policy. This is not a political history of the traditional type nor a history of ideas study, but, rather, an examination of the interaction between the worlds of politics and political ideas. At this level The Quest for National Efficiency makes a significant contribution to the historiographical debate about Britain's decline during the twentieth century. But there is a second way of reading Dr. Searle's work: as, to use Barbara Tuchman's phrase, a distant mirror. The period under review is the decade following the death of Queen Victoria yet the narrative, while set against very different circumstances, provides many reflections of dilemmas familiar to readers in the early 1990s. There are many similarities between Edwardian Britain, the Britain of the 1960s when the book was written, and the contemporary United States. The parallels are not labored, but their existence adds an extra dimension to this fascinating study. It is for this reason that the republication of The Quest for National Efficiency will be seen as relevant.