For many, the American West conjures up romanticized images of cowboys and cattle drives. But for others, the West—with millions of acres under federal management—stirs different passions. Who should have access to these lands? On the one side are commodity producers, those in search of oil, minerals, timber, and grazing lands. On the other are environmentalists competing for the same lands. C. Brant Short explores the policy issues that have sprung from this tension over the past decade. In Ronald Reagan and the Public Lands: America's Conservation Debate, 1979–1984 (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 178 pp., $27.50/$ 13.95). Short looks at the debate over how public lands are to be used, offering an excellent depiction of the opposing political and philosophical views.
In Privatisation & Competition (London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 239 pp., £9.50). edited by Cento Veljanovski, the contributors examine the interplay among privatization, competition, and regulation, using the British experience as a model to shed light on the "trade-offs, tensions and the probable consequences of the sacrifice of market forces and competitive pressures in Britain's privatisation program."
Modern technology has introduced methods of enhancing individual freedom, but those same technologies, abused in the hands of governmental authorities, can seriously erode personal privacy. Political science professor David F. Linowes explores the issues raised by government and corporate efforts to obtain and keep records on individual citizens in Privacy in America: Is Your Private Life in the Public Eye? (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 191 pp., $19.95). Linowes offers an excellent, and often sobering, assessment of the dangers to personal liberties that result from the explosion in recordkeeping made possible by computers and suggests ways in which citizens can safeguard their privacy.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Book Hints".