Two newsmen from Time and Life's Washington bureau (Shepley heads it and Clay is the author of Admiral Rickover and the Atomic Submarine) outline ""The Men, the Menace, the Mechanism"" in the first study of the monstrous weapon for the trade book field. Readable (as in Time's familiar style) and slated for sure sales, it is also a fairly complete and balanced coverage of the events that marked the H-bomb's to date strong career. The story starts at Los Alamos. There when the idea was first developed some years ago, began the seeds of the whole atomic and thermonuclear controversy perhaps most dramatically highlighted in the two protagonists- Oppenheimer and Teller. In their analysis, the authors show that it was Teller's dogged determinism and conviction that Russia could gain more concentrated power than the West which influenced the building of the H-bomb over Oppenheimer's opposition- in turn made up of an odd combination of guilt complex and the illusion of possible cooperation with the U.S.S.R. Passing no judgment other than the force of evidence against Oppenheimer, the authors leave the case as a still debatable question. Though simplified, the details of construction are presented with enough scientific background and detail to interest the informed laymen. The answer to the question of questions- the meaning of Russian and American H-bombs for world security- goes as far as current speculation allows, with the stress on strong supportive air power and the outspoken hope that we can both protect and behave ourselves.