An extremely thoughtful and disturbing study of whither America in the aftermath of the Vietnam military failure -- which Corson carefully distinguishes from a ""defeat"" tout court. Without being didactic, Corson -- a former Marine colonel -- looks back through history for other examples of how great and powerful nations have reacted in the wake of a war which could be neither abandoned nor conclusively won. From the border skirmishes of the Roman Empire to the 16th century Spanish agony in the Netherlands, to England's bitter experience with guerrilla forces in 20th century Ireland (""a classic military failure for England"") the historical evidence is as instructive as it is depressing. Already, Corson contends, America is showing symptoms of political regression in the deterioration of its national commitment to domestic problems; in a nco-isolationism which could quickly lead to a ""Fortress America""; and in the ""breakdown of our institutional system"" especially conspicuous in the military, enfeebled and demoralized by drugs, dissent and racial turmoil. Corson's projected scenario is gloomy, though he argues against the inevitability of America's decline and fall. Most urgently, however, this is a plea that we recognize and acknowledge our Vietnam experience as ""traumatic"" rather than obliterating the past decade by turning it into a ""nonevent."" Corson's exceptional use of historical analogies and restrained but forceful logic ought to provoke a great deal of introspection and debate.