Old Washington hand Drury tackles the American military establishment and gives the mega-novel treatment to the problems inherent in crisis management by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Most of the characters here are tagged with nicknames straight out of Leave It To Beaver (Gen. ""Zeecy"" McCune, Gen. ""Brash"" Burford, Gen. ""Ham"" Stokes, Adm. ""Bumpy"" Stahlman, Gen. ""Tick"" Tock), but that's the last bit of levity in this very serious and very long look into the very big headquarters of the American military. Zeecy, Brash, Bumpy, and Tick, America's Chiefs of Staff, as well as Secretary of State ""Loy"" Buck and assorted deputy and assistant secretaries, have their plates full when the endlessly evil Soviets drop anchor in the placid lagoon surrounded by Nanukuvu, an island in the South Pacific. The Soviets incinerate the handful of Polynesian people who inhabit Nanukuvu and set to work on turning it into a strategic military base. It's up to the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to come up with a way to get rid of the Reds, but, alas for us all, the planning and decision-making system is not only hampered by interservice rivalries, a treacherous gutter press, and presidential politics, it is also just plain slow. By the time the solutions are in hand, the Russians are dug in forever. Every bit as ponderous as its namesake, Pentagon is what happens when one goes to bed without turning off the word processor.