John Barnes's collection of essays covers a variety of topics in sociology and anthropology, including lineage systems, social networks, colonialism, underlying assumptions of social science, and the significance of time in social analysis. Together they identify the author's particular view of social science: he is primarily interested in 'what really happens'. Rather than revamp articles written with a distinctive set of assumptions to bring them into line with current intellectual fashion, Professor Barnes has chosen to let them stand as they are, products of identifiable theoretical stance and modes of exposition. But introductory notes to each chapter set out the context in which the piece was originally written and draw attention to later publications and events that bear on it. An introduction discusses in detail the author's view of social science as the construction of models rather than a search for social laws, while the final chapter presents a model of the modelling process itself.