It has been twelve years since Theodore H. White's Fire in the Ashes analyzed the European experience and position in mid-century, four since John Gunther revisited Europe in Inside Europe Today. Don Cook, in his politically fact-packed survey of Europe today finds a dramatic change in perspective and the particulars of American influence. The emergence of de Gaulle (and his mon-archy) has altered the balance of power: he, rather than the leaders of the US and USSR, is in the driver's seat, while the US and USSR are moving toward the post Cold War cooperation necessitated by resurgent Red China. The story of three competing political forces--European unity, nationalism and independence of the US lies within the decade from 1953 to 1963 which succeeds White's analysis. With some twenty years of mainline reporting behind him, Cook deals in depth and detail with the moves toward unification since 1953; the settlement of the Indochina conflict with the resultant partition of Vietnam; the East-West conflict in Berlin; the death of the Fourth Republic, the rise of de Gaulle and France; the Adenauer era and the gradual reacceptance, owed to him, of Germany in the European community; the Suez affair (""an inglorious catalog of national misunderstandings, misjudgments and mistakes""); the position of England vis a vis Europe and the world today. Mr. Cook denotes de Gaulle's press conference on January 14, 1963 as the turning point, the pronouncement of a third force in European affairs. He writes with the authority of a well-grounded insider; his aerial view of Europe today proceeds above a barrage of history in itself compelling. Read Mr. Cook and consider yourself briefed. Alors, apres de Gaulle?