"In what must be ranked as a foremost classic of twentieth-century political philosophy, George Santayana, in the preface to his last major work prior to his death, makes plain the limits as well as the aims of Dominations and Powers: "All that it professes to contain is glimpses of tragedy and comedy played unawares by governments; and a continual intuitive reduction of political maxims and institutions to the intimate spiritual fruits that they are capable of bearing."" "Completed at midpoint in the century, but serving as his final masterpiece, Santayana's volume offers an ominous account of the weakness of the West, and its similarities in substance if not always in form with totalitarian systems of the East. Few analyses of concepts, such as government by the people; the price of peace and the suppression of warfare; the nature of elites and limits of egalitarianism; and the nature of authority in free societies, are more comprehensive or compelling. This is a carefully rendered statement on tasks of leadership for free societies that takes on added meaning after the fall of communism."--BOOK JACKET.