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This is in many ways an engaging book, written in a refreshingly direct and unobfuscatory style. Its chief problem is living up to the rather grand expectations raised by the title, expectations that the author half-way through the enterprise admits he did not mean to evoke (p. 74). What the reader will find is less a systematic essay or sustained treatment of authority than several penetrating readings of intense conflicts dealing with a substantially narrower issue: controlling who gets to speak in public settings that are authority conferring - in councils, senates and law courts.