Intended as a frankly parti pris textbook on American history from the reelection of Roosevelt to the appointment of Ford, this work attempts to recapture ground from the iconoclastic, economics-oriented, Vietnam-haunted reappraisals common in recent years. Emphasizing Presidential politics but also social trends, Hamby generally defends the record of Democratic administrations while conceding the merit of criticisms. Accordingly, the New Deal was admirable but didn't end the Depression; the US was right to drop the bomb at Hiroshima but had pressed Japan into fighting; the cold war and military ""containment"" were necessary and successful, but the USSR had good reason to believe that their allies first tried to ""win the war with Soviet blood and weaken the USSR in the process,"" and then to impose ""an anti-communist atomic monopoly."" Hamby also denies contentions that Eisenhower avoided war better than the liberals, that Kennedy was responsible for the ""no-exit"" situation in Indochina, or that LRJ did more ill than good. The book covers too much ground for discursive argument, so that any number of its glosses, from the Korean War to the ""energy crisis,"" may seem not only disputable but simplistic. Nonetheless, Hamby has put a lively mapping of the key issues into a useful format.