On both sides the Cold War can be seen as the surfacing of long-standing differences, as reactions from fear ""rather than in response to actual danger,"" as ""a series of missed opportunities"" for a detente. On the American side it is seen, notwithstanding Mr. Walton's disavowal of passing judgment, as influenced by determination, after World War II, ""to establish the economic ground rules for world trade, trade that. . . it could not help but dominate for years to come'; by belief that all Communist countries must be subservient to the U.S.S.R., the subsequent refusal to recognize that Communism may develop indigenously, and overall the insistence on viewing every Communist regime as an enemy, every neutral as a potential enemy--with, under the puritanical, moralistic Dulles particularly, the implication that all good is on one side, all evil on the other. How these preconditions and precepts carried the world from one crisis to another is told in a comprehensive but concise and lucid chronicle, admirably suited--by being both date-lined and headlined--for independent study. Responsible historians and analysts are cited, quotations and controversial allegations are footnoted--which gives credence to many uncomfortable assertions (to demonstrate the range--in the McCarthy period Truman and Acheson became ""victims of the fears they first raised,"" the CIA engineered and executed Mossadeq's overthrow in Iran, rejection of the 1962 NLF proposals for an internal settlement and a coalition government drove them into the arms of North Vietnam). Mr. Walton is himself an experienced political analyst (and author of The Remnants of Power. The Tragic Last Years of Adlai Stevenson) who writes incisively about matters of immediate importance.