As an aspiring social work student, I read this book with interest and, on the whole, enjoyment. Mark Doel is a venerable champion of social work values, social justice and the distinctive perspective of this profession among its often more powerful counterparts. I liked the dialectical approach of each chapter, which usually conclude that the best approach is not either/or but both/and. What stops me from giving it five stars is that despite his experience, and his protestations to the contrary, I do think he ends up coming across as a starry-eyed idealist: his blueprint for a National Social Service to rival the National Health Service in the UK, when the latter is already creaking at its joints and much of social work is reduced to management and procedure with less skilled, poorer paid support staff doing the bulk of actual client work, seems hopelessly naive. Not that I don't share the same wish - as a service user myself I have watched with dismay this deterioration - but when he doesn't give a coherent plan of action to achieve his ideals, you kind of wonder how much his, or anybody's, heart is in it after being battered by nearly four decades of the free market triumphant. But maybe that's for another book. . .I can't fault his principles, and I'll certainly keep him very much in mind if I find I have the stomach for modern social work practice.