The Cold War was America's longest war, lasting almost 50 years. In this thought-provoking ""survey history of an American crusade,"" Warren (Portrait of a Tragedy: America and the Vietnam War, 1990, etc.) outlines the struggle between democracy and Communism and describes the key events, themes, and decision makers. In contrast with American leaders after WW II, who felt that the Cold War was a moral crusade in which the United States was ""good"" and the Soviet Union ""evil,"" Warren adopts a more neutral presentation: ""I came to admire the restraint and discipline on both sides. The Cold War could very easily have ended in nuclear holocaust."" In addition, Warren's writing is clear and concise--his explanations of terms (isolationism, containment, dâ€štente, realpolitik, glasnost, perestroika) will be understandable to YAs. Although Warren concludes that the Communist system ""simply did not provide a satisfactory way of life"" nor did it ""demonstrate any real capacity to address social and economic problems as they arose,"" in which ""capitalistic democracies proved to be surprisingly adept,"" he believes that ""the obsession with communism often blinded the United States to the realities and problems faced by other countries."" This deftly written history of the Cold War should be included in all collections of books dealing with this period of time.