For more than half a century the Country Party in Australia has defied predictions that it would collapse or wither away, fates suggested by its small parliamentary numbers and the narrow basis of its electoral support. This book is a study of the anatomy of an unusual political party. Professor Aitkin pursues the twin themes of ideology and organisation to find out to what extent the Country Party owes its survival to the ideas and philosophy it espouses and to the nature of the organisation it has constructed for itself. Although he has concentrated on the party in New South Wales since World War II, the author has ranged widely, from the party's beginnings in the stresses of the developing Australian colonies of the nineteenth century to its reactions to the crisis in the rural industries which began in the late 1960s. This is a study in depth of a political party, rare in its command of original source material, that will undoubtedly interest the rural people for whose benefit the Country Party was formed and has remained in existence. It will be required reading for all those involved in Australian politics - practitioners, journalists, scholars. It is also a book for students concerned with the role of political parties in the modern world.