Rayside conducted informal interviews with more than 150 Glengarrians and attended numerous meetings of local councils, school boards, planning boards, and conservation authorities. This field research provides the basis for a detailed examination of the self-image of the town as a friendly, caring, united community, and of the unequal power relations that exist between different social classes, language groups, and men and women. Working-class life is disadvantaged in Alexandria much as it is in large cities, French-English relations are strained, and the experience of women has not been affected to any great extent by the challenges of feminism. Local government in Alexandria may be more accessible to the ordinary citizen than it is elsewhere but, as Rayside shows, the local council rarely engages in issues of genuine concern to residents, who themselves largely ignore municipal politics. Most local politicians seem inclined to avoid controversy and innovation, hoping to retain an environment favourable to business investment. Rayside examines the impact of the external world on a small community. He situates this impact and the resulting changes in historical context and reveals economic and social relationships that differ from what many of Alexandria's inhabitants believe to be the case. A Small Town in Modern Times will be of interest not only to students and scholars of political science, sociology, history, and Canadian studies but also to residents of Alexandria and any other small community in transition.