Robert Michels was a German sociologist who spent the last 10 years of his life in Italy. In the English-speaking world, he is most famous for his book "Political Parties" (1911), in which he formulated the problem of the oligarchic tendencies of organizations. "He who says organization," he asserted, "says oligarchy." But political parties, he believed, are less oligarchic than single-purpose organizations concerned with specific reforms or with technical problems. An important study of the International Typographical Union, "Union Democracy" by Seymour M. Lipset, Martin A. Trow, and James S. Coleman (1956), has been said by some scholars to challenge many of Michels's findings about organizations. Rather, by pointing out the essential characteristics of a democratic trade union, this book confirms Michels's thesis. Michels also wrote about democracy, socialism, revolution, class conflict, trade unionism, mass society, nationalism, imperialism, and intellectuals, and he made intensive studies of the politics of the working class.